American driver Ken Block is to join the World Rally Championship for selected events in 2010 after confirmation of the creation of the new Monster World Rally Team.
Block will compete in a Ford Focus RS prepared by M-Sport – the team behind the works Ford programme - with the first year of a multi-year programme being focused on helping Block get up to speed with the WRC.
As well as his WRC programme, Block will also compete in the Rally America Championship and X Games XVI in a Ford Fiesta prepared by Olsbergs MSE.
“Racing in the World Rally Championship has always been a dream of mine but I'd still be dreaming if I promised podiums in the near future,” says Block. “I will be going head-to-head with the greatest drivers on the planet. And sure, I will be giving it my all but my main objective for 2010 is to develop into a competitive driver for 2011 and beyond.
“I am stoked to be rallying in a Ford. They are an impressive force in the sport. From the days of the 1970s Escorts to the Group B RS200, to the modern-day Focus and now the Fiesta, Ford has an excellent history within rally. I couldn't be happier to be part of this amazing heritage. Not to mention my dad would be proud. He was a true Ford guy.”
M-Sport chief Malcolm Wilson was quick to welcome Block into the WRC and said his large international following would be a huge boost to the sport.
“It is great news that Ken will be joining the WRC and even better that it will be with Ford!” he said. “Ken has been instrumental in elevating the public awareness of rallying throughout the world with his multimedia exploits, particularly in the US which is a key global market and an area where WRC has yet to reach its full potential.
“Ken's appearance in the WRC and his desire to compete toe-to-toe at the highest level is indicative of the determination and drive that he has exhibited in all areas of his life to date — be it in business or personal targets. Ken is a colorful character with a huge international fan base and his decision to appear in the WRC is warmly welcomed.”
Former Subaru factory driver Chris Atkinson has been linked to a role with the team.