KEN BLOCK AND ALEX GELSOMINO IMPRESS ON THEIR WRC DEBUT AT RALLY MEXICO
WATCH THE MONSTER ENERGY HIGHLIGHT CLIP ON YOUTUBE:
March 24th, 2010, Brooklyn, NY- When Ken Block threw his flat-brimmed hat into the World Rally Championship ring earlier this year, expectations were mixed. But three weeks ago, at Rally Mexico-Monster World Rally Team's inaugural WRC race-Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino proved that they have what it takes to become a competitive force on the world stage.
"We even surprised ourselves, when, after the first few stages, we were not only not dead last, but we were keeping pace with a few veteran WRC drivers, and even ahead of F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen," says Ken Block.
By the end of the first leg, on Friday, Block and Gelsomino had secured a position on the leaderboard for the American flag to fly. Unfortunately, an off on the first stage of Day 2, left the Monster Energy Ford Focus RS WRC unable to continue. "It was a rookie mistake," says Block. "We should have noted the change in surface, the section went from a grippy dirt road to very loose gravel and there was just no traction at all, especially for the speed we were trying to carry into the next turn."
Thanks to SuperRally rules, which allow competitors to return to the stages the following day along with some heavy time penalties, Block and Gelsomino were at it again on Sunday morning. The two put on a repeat performance of Day 1, finishing stage 19, eighth fastest, with a 13.7 second gap between them and ninth place. Then, on stage 21, the Monster World Rally Team shocked naysayers once more, being second fastest on the road after the first split. But, a puncture caused by an unfortunate meeting of rim and rock later on this stage, robbed Block and Gelsomino of over a minute.
"In the WRC, we had heard of Ken Block, but more for his stunts than his driving, but after his performance in Mexico, I think it is very clear to everyone that he has the potential to become a competitive WRC driver," says M-Sport Managing Director Malcolm Wilson. "For his first WRC event, he did extremely well."
"Ken is shining a bright light on what we at Ford have always known...that Ford makes the best fun-to-drive small cars in the world," says Ford Racing Director Jamie Allison. "Ken's rally efforts globally with Fiesta and Focus help us to tell that story to a new generation of car enthusiasts and it's great to see Ken, as the lone American, competing at the highest level in WRC and showcasing his great rally talent. All of which will help expand the appeal of the sport in the U.S."
The next WRC round for MWRT will be Rally Turkey, on April 16-18. Until then, follow the team at monsterworldrallyteam.com
Watch the Monster Energy Mexico clip here:
For official television coverage of the 2010 World Rally Championship in the U.S. tune into HD Theater (Check local listings for repeat broadcasts of the Rally Mexico Event Highlights this week).
About Ken Block Ken Block's rally career began in 2005. His skill and car control became quickly apparent and Block aptly nabbed Rookie of the Year in the Rally America Championship. Since then, Block has continued to race in the series, boasting a healthy number of podium appearances, as well as X Games medals. In addition to his performance in the car, Block has been a driving force in shedding light on the sport within the United States. Block co-founded DC Shoes, a worldwide leader in performance skateboarding shoes and a renowned action sports brand. His keen branding and marketing acumen not only elevated DC to their current eminent status, but has allowed Block to achieve global fame as a national rally driver through his wildly successful viral video campaigns. Ad Age named his "Gymkhana TWO" the No. 4 Viral Video of 2009. In January 2010, Block signed with Ford Motor Company to campaign both the Rally America series and the World Rally Championship, being the first American to do so.
About Monster World Rally Team: Created and assembled by Ken Block, the object of the Monster World Rally Team is to redefine the race-team archetype. The team is driven not only to win, but to also market motorsport through innovative, creative and interactive ways. The goal: To become the best- known team in the WRC and bring rally to the masses along the way. The team is supported by Monster Energy, Ford Motor Company, DC Shoes, Castrol Edge, Pirelli Tires and the Dirt2 videogame. monsterworldrallyteam.com