Article By Ben Custard
Ken Block's Ford Escort Cosworth on fire

Ken Block’s Ford Escort Cosworth Rally Car Meets A Fiery End​

There’s one fewer Ford Escort Cosworth in the world this week, as YouTube sensation Ken Block’s Cossie caught fire on a rally stage in New England.

Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino were running third in the rally, and were pressing on to get to the next stage despite a gearbox problem. In the video, you can see Block fighting with the seven-speed sequential gearbox, trying to get it in gear. When it eventually goes into gear, it skews the car into a rock.

Hitting the rock causes the Cossie to barrel roll twice into the verge. If that wasn’t bad enough, the car sets on fire almost immediately – and the two occupants have to get out really quickly. A lot of swearing ensues, but we’d definitely have the same reaction if it happened to us!

Ken Block's Ford Escort Cosworth
Image from Hoonigan video about the crash

You’ll be glad to know that both Block and Gelsomino escaped without injury, but the car wasn’t so lucky. The stage looks to be quite remote, so all they could do was watch their modified rally car burn to the ground.

Car fire footage is always hard to watch, especially when the vehicle involved serves up nostalgic memories. The Ford Escort Cosworth won ten rounds of the World Rally Championship between 1993-1997, and is one of the poster cars for Ford’s racing pedigree.

The Escort featured an upgraded engine from the 1997 WRC car. The 2.0-litre turbocharged unit produced 340hp and was made from a lightweight alloy combination, instead of the steel construction of the original. Side-exit exhausts, racing brakes, adjustable suspension and a distinctive paint job were also added.

Block has famously had many Fords throughout his racing career, including a 2016 Focus RS rallycross car, an 800hp RS200, a ‘Hoonicorn’ 1965 Mustang and another Escort – a 1978 Mk2 RS.