Projekt E: Block powers to inaugural win

Ken Block won the first ever round of the all-electric Projekt E series. Natalie Barratt brought home second place after a difficult weekend.


In the first ever final Block and Hermann Neubauer lined up on row 1 with Barratt slotting in just behind the pair in P3. Off the start the front row drivers got an equal start with Barratt having a delayed reaction. Block braked later to take the lead using the inside line, just as he had done in Q4. Barratt followed the pair after not electing to joker on lap 1. There was drama for Neubauer as halfway round lap 2 he slowed with smoke pouring from the rear right. Barratt closed in on the ailing Austrian and took the alternate route just as she caught up to him. Within a lap the Brit had closed back up so Neubauer went to the joker lap and dropped into last. Out front Block had pulled a large gap and was the last to take the joker lap. With the field spread out Block took a comfortable win by over 15 seconds in the end. Barratt rounded out a difficult debut with second place while a slow Neubauer came home in 3rd.

“It was really fun. Quite a big challenge at such a different setup and we’re chasing setup and changing things all weekend. It was great being a part of something that’s the future. It still has a way to go but I think as far as the starting point they’re well on. Very Happy”

-Ken Block



In Q3 Block got the hold shot from the middle of the grid. Barratt again took the joker lap immediately with Neubauer settling in behind the American racer out front. Neubauer then used his joker on the next time by to try and put pressure on the leader. Block responded on the penultimate lap and stayed out ahead. Barratt pulled off on the final lap to add to a disappointing weekend but managed to recover the car by herself back to the pits. “I’m getting more and more confident with it every lap. It’s a good challenge and enjoying it so looking forward to Q4,” Block said after winning in Q3.

Image Credit: World Rallycross Championship

Adding to her weekend woes Barratt jumped the start in Q4 when the “Ready to Race” lights turned off rather than when the green lights illuminated. At the restart Block and Neubauer went side-by-side into turn 1 with Block braking later and taking the inside line to lead. The leading pair ended the opening lap bumper to bumper with Neubauer trying to overtake the Hoonigan racer. Trying to get past him, the Austrian took to the joker lap. Block responded on the last lap but Neubauer got past at the joker lap exit, having made up time on the penultimate lap. Immediately after passing for the lead, Neubauer pulled to the side of the track with an issue which allowed Barratt into second. Block took the win while behind Neubauer restarted his car and finished in 3rd, back up to full speed.


With 3 race wins, Block took the top qualifying spot with Neubauer slotting into second and Barratt rounding out the grid. This scored him 16 points in the championship with Neubauer and Barratt on 15 and 14 respectively. With no semi-finals the maximum score for the weekend was reduced to 24 which is exactly what Block achieved. Thanks to topping qualifying and winning the final he held a 5 point lead over the other drivers with Barratt just edging into 2nd place in the championship thanks to her second place finish in the final.


Latvia hosts the next round in 4 weeks time with Citroen driver Mads Ostberg expected to compete, having had issues travelling from Norway to Sweden. Daniel Holten is also known to have tested another Projekt E Fiesta and could well join the grid. Other than Barratt it is not clear if any drivers are planning on running during the rest of the championship.


Featured Image Credit: World Rallycross Championship

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