American rally racer Ken Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino had a close escape after a crash in the New England Forest Rally, which resulted in his Ford Escort catching fire after multiple flips.

Block was running third overall in the New England Forest Rally in America when he encountered a gearbox issue as he closed up to finish Stage 4. However, it turned to worse when he turned his car in the left corner.

The gear didn’t shift and when it did, it threw Block and Gelsomino on a rock as they flipped over 2-3 times as the car parked along the road, near the trees. As the car came to a halt, the front end of the Ford Escort caught fire.

The American and his Italian co-driver escaped unhurt as soon as they saw the fire. “WILD day for Alex Gelsomino and I,” said Block. “We were running in 3rd overall in the New England Forest Rally [with a gear box problem], pressing on to finish Stage 4.

“When I turned into a tighter left corner and downshifted. The box didn’t shift when I wanted it to [because mechanical issue], and when it finally did, it threw me into the inside of a corner and into a big rock. That rock sent us rolling over twice.

“We landed on our wheels, and I was ready to get going again because we were shiny side up. Buuuut as you can see, a fire started REALLY quick. Alex and I got out safely, but the car thoroughly burned right there on the stage. Luckily the incar action was caught on my helmet mounted GoPro.”

This was the second rally that Block was competing in the USA after taking part in the Oregon Trail Rally in April. Next in his schedule is the Idaho Rally International during September 15-16, but it remains to be seen if he will compete with a new car.

The American is also scheduled to make his FIA World Rally Championship return later in the year driving the 2017 Ford Fiesta RS WRC, which will be prepared by M-Sport in Rally Spain during October 25-28 weekend.