• Ken Block’s New Ford Escort RS Cosworth Didn’t Even Survive its First Race

It’s the second Ford Escort RS Cosworth that has conked out on Block in the middle of a race

Ken Block’s Ford Escort RS Cosworth rally car must be cursed. A little over a year his first Escort RS Cosworth rally, which after he affectionately calls “Cossie,” caught fire and burned down, the second Escort RS Cosworth, called “Cossie V2,” once again came up short at the most inopportune time, conking out in the middle of the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood race. In a span of 20 months, Block has raced in two Escort RS Cosworth rally cars. Neither made it to the finish line. There must be a pattern there.

The Ford Escort must not like Ken Block. That’s my takeaway here after Block’s second rally-spec Escort RS Cosworth, called “Cossie V2,” bailed on him in the middle of the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood race. The accompanying video goes into detail about the race preparations, the actual race, and the subsequent mishap that forced Block to retire from the race while he was running fourth overall. The 6:11 part of the video, we see smoke coming out of the hood of the Escort RS Cosworth and it didn’t take long for Block and his navigator to stop the car and have it towed.

According to Block, Cossie V2’s engine failed in the middle of the rally as oil started to spray into the rally car’s windshield.

Block tried to ignore it at first, but when smoke started coming out of the hood — a sign of oil burning — there was no alternative but to stop and call it a race. It was a bitter end to what was supposed to be the start of the Cozzie World Tour.

Ken Block's New Ford Escort RS Cosworth Didn't Even Survive its First Race
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As unfortunate as the engine failure was, Cossie V2 still came out in pretty good shape. Block admitted that there are bigger problems with the car that caused the engine failure, but these are problems that his team is confident will get sorted out, hopefully, sooner rather than later. Still, Cossie V2 is still standing, at least for the most part. The same, sadly, cannot be said for the original Cossie, which burned to a charred crisp back in July 208 while it was competing at the New England Forest Rally in Maine. That incident was brought about by an error in Block’s part.

According to reports, Block accidentally hit a rock on the apex of a left-hand corner of the race.

The impact was hard enough that it sent the side of the Escort into the air where it flipped numerous time before it came to a crashing stop in the trees. As soon as the rally car landed upright, Block and his navigator, Alex Gelsomino, immediately rushed out of the car and watched as it was inevitably swallowed up by flames, destroying pretty much every bit of the rally-spec Ford racer. Block indicated at the time that the Cossie’s gearbox was the culprit of behind him messing up a shift as he approached the corner. The error led to the Escort clipping a rock, flipping over, and causing the fire that ultimately turned it into a charred crisp.

By my count, that’s two rally-spec Ford Escort RS Cosworth models that have crashed in the middle of the race. While the second appears to be in good enough condition to get fixed, the first versions are long gone. In fact, Cossie’s demise was what led to Cossie V2’s creation. Hopefully, the need for a Cossie V3 doesn’t occur anytime soon, though considering Block’s luck in driving these rally-spec racers, he might need to have horseshoes and cloves of garlic in his rearview mirror the next time he drives Cossie V2.

It’s a shame because the Escort RS Cosworth is such a cool rally-spec racer.

Back when Block announced that he and his team were building one in 2017, the project took a life of its own. Most people in the U.S. remember the Escort as a bland block of metal on four wheels, but the Euro-spec version had a lot more spice in it, specifically performance-spec versions like the Escort RS1600 and the RS Cosworth. Block wanted to recreate that with Cossie, and, for a time, it worked. Block drove Cossie in a number of rally races, though, more importantly, the rally car played a big role in GymkhanaTEN.

Ken Block's New Ford Escort RS Cosworth Didn't Even Survive its First Race
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Unfortunately, the fiery crash in Maine cut short Cossie’s life, but it didn’t take long for Block and his crew to build a new model that would play the starring role in the Cossie World Tour.

The first stop of that tour was the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood here in the U.S. Stops in the U.K., New Zealand, Ireland, Poland, Italy, and Switzerland are also in the calendar, though given what happened to Cossie V2 in the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood race, it’s safe to say that the Cossie World Tour has gotten off to a rocky start. There’s still time to turn things around, but I’m not as excited about as I used to be.

Further Reading

Ken Block and His 1993 Ford Escort Cosworth Are Officially Returning to American Stage Rally
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Ken Block and His 1993 Ford Escort Cosworth Are Officially Returning to American Stage Rally

2016 Ford Focus RS RX By Hoonigan Racing High Resolution Exterior
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Read more Ken Block news.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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