IF you are enthusiastic about rally driving the chances are you have heard of Ken Block. The much celebrated and highly revered professional American rally driver founded the Hoonigan Racing Division, which was formerly known as the Monster World Rally Team.
Besides being a well-known figure in rally racing, Block competes in other action sport events, including snowboarding, skateboarding and motocross.
In 2010 the Monster World Rally Team announced that Ken Block was going to be their driver for several rounds of the World Rally Championship. In the championship Block was campaigning for the Monster/Ford Racing Focus RS WRC 08. The same year, Block simultaneously ran for this sixth season of the Rally America Championship in an open class Ford Fiesta. Block was also the first American driver to campaign for theWorld Rally Championship. It could be said that much of Ken Block’s talent and success can be pinned on the fact that Block has been trained by the former Ford factory driver, Markko Martin. The Estonian driver shot to prominence with the Ford World Rally Team in 2002. The Ford World Rally Team is Ford’s full factory World Rally Championship team.
The famed American rallycross and gymkhana drivers’ association with Ford reached new heights earlier this year when Block worked with Ford and Los Angeles-based tuner Fifteen 52 to create a Ford Focus ST, dubbed the Project Focus TrackSter. The TrackSter is one of a three car line-up that offer heightened performance for both street driving and full-on competition. This 2.0-litre direct-injected turbo four comprises of new forged rods and pistons, turbo plumbing and an intercooler with a larger Garratt turbocharger. The 250 horsepower TrackSter was completed just in time for the 2013 Chicago Auto Show.
Block’s Monster World Rally team Fiesta
In racing Ford cars and being involved in creating them, the prominent American rally driver’s enthusiasm and commitment is well illustrated and clear, but what exactly feeds Ken Block’s love affair with Ford?
Much of Block’s unwavering commitment to driving and being associated with Ford is likely to stem from the fact that Ford has a long and successful history in rallying. While Ford has a colourful and spectacular past in many motorsport disciplines, it is in rallying which the auto manufacturer has a particularly compelling story. Ford’s relationship with rallying dates back to the 1950s when Ford made its mark on the sport with a string of wins with the six-cylinder Zephyrs. In 1953 rally driver Maurice Gatsonides won the Monte Carlo rally and subsequently Ford and rallying have never looked back.
Further prominence for Ford in rally driving was established in 1979 when the manufacturer’s won the World Rally Championship (WRC) with the Ford Escort RS1800. Following its success in the WRC, Ford concentrated on the development of the Ford Escort RS 1700T. Ford designed a prototype RWD car in 1980 in order to compete in Group B rallying. Due to recurring problems during the car’s development, Ford aborted its development and began work on the famous RS200, a road-going four-wheel drive sports car which is based on the Ford Group B rally car.
Throughout the decades Ford has enjoyed a lustrous career with this strand of motorsport, which enjoyed particular success in 2008. During this year Ford came first and second in the Rally of Turkey securing its 100th consecutive point finish in the WRC – an achievement that had never been accomplished before.
With such a successful and vibrant history in the sport well under its bonnet, it is hardly surprising that the likes of Ken Block, a dynamic, eager and ambitious young motor racer would be keen to exploit Ford’s proficiency for creating rally cars and become part of Ford’s seemingly unrivalled rallying success.
You cannot deny that rallying is a truly thrilling sport and Ford is very much at the heart of this nail-biting excitement. You can also not escape the fact that what business customers really want is great service on the ground. This is where Matlock Ford, an independent, Ford dealer situated in Matlock, Derbyshire can prove an invaluable asset to business customers. Matlock Ford specialises in new, delivery mileage, used Ford cars and high quality Ford Direct cars. This family-run Ford dealer provides a great aftersales service. Its team of qualified technicians are fully Ford trained and can carry out most service and repair work as you wait – ideal for busy business customers. It might not be rallying with the likes of Ken Block behind the wheel but at Matlock Ford motorists will get all the quality of Ford with the practicality of a road car.
- Ogier Wins Finland Rally (evanshalshaw.com)
- World Rally Championship 2013 drive beckons for Hayden Paddon in Spain (3news.co.nz)
- Ken Block To Headline Panel For Rally Film At Jalopnik Film Festival (jalopnik.com)
- VIDEO: Full interview – Hayden Paddon (3news.co.nz)