FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:::
BLOCK RETURNS TO MEXICO WITH A MUCH IMPROVED PACE, BUT IS ROBBED OF STRONG POINTS FINISH BY MECHANICAL ISSUES.
March 7, 2011, León, Mexico – Returning to León, Mexico, now with one year of WRC racing under their belts, Monster World Rally Team driver Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino showed major improvement on stage since their debut here in 2010. But a series of electrical issues, that started even before the Monster Energy Ford Fiesta RS WRC took to the opening stage, robbed the two of a possible 6th overall finish. Still the pair pressed on through the rugged, rocky and extremely dusty terrain of the Sierra de Lobos mountains to finish 12th overall, despite two early retirements and a 20 minute delay on stage all caused by gremlins in the Fiesta’s electronics.
“It’s hard not to focus on the mechanical issues we had this event, since without them, I would have likely had the best overall finish of my WRC career,” says Block. “But regardless, from a driving perspective, I am very happy with our times here compared to last year. This is the first event we have gone into with notes already prepared, giving us an advantage we haven’t had before. And with this only being our 9th WRC event ever, I feel confident on our continued development this season, when we are already showing on pace to be 6th or 7th overall.”
With their Fiesta being unable to make it to the start of the event on Thursday evening, Block and Gelsomino were forced to retire, which led to them having to SuperRally on Friday morning, taking on a 10-minute penalty. Despite the setback though, Block managed to hit the stages and lay down consistent top-10 stage times throughout the day, until a new set of electrical problems stopped the Fiesta once again on SS8, forcing the team to SuperRally for the second consecutive day on Saturday. Once again though, Block tore out of the gates Saturday morning and continued to move up through the pack, putting down a series of 7th fastest stage times. Unfortunately, on the afternoon running of the Duarte stage, Block clipped a tree stump, snapping a control arm, forcing the car to retire early for the third consecutive day and leading to yet another SuperRally for Sunday. But Block wasn’t alone with problems in Mexico, a series of DNFs and other issues for other WRC drivers had the Monster World Rally Team still sitting 11th overall into leg 3.
The final day’s performance from Block was a display of continued solid improvement over 2010, with two more lucky 7 stage finishes. And after an off by rally leader Sébastien Ogier, Block and Gelsomino ironically found themselves in a point earning position in 10th overall despite three consecutives early retirements. But again, the team’s luck would run out, when the electric system again acted up, delaying Block and Gelsomino for 20 minutes on the second to last stage, subsequently knocking them back a few spots.
“WRC Mexico is one of the toughest events on the calendar, partly due to the high altitude’s effect on the engines and the rugged terrain, so despite the electrical issues that plagued the team this event, I am very happy with Ken and Alex’s performance here as well as their perseverance each morning to press on after all the problems,” says team manager Derek Dauncey. “Ken was consistently only 1.1-seconds per kilometer off of the fastest Ford driver and 1.3-seconds per kilometer off the top time on each stage, which is an excellent pace for a driver who hasn’t even completed a full season of events yet.”
The next WRC round for MWRT will be Vodafone Rally de Portugal, March 24-27. Until then, follow the team at monsterworldrallyteam.com, facebook.com/KenBlockRacing and facebook.com/MonsterWorldRallyTeam.
For images of Ken Block and the Monster World Rally Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC in action at Rally Mexico: http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/11444926/1/WRC%20MEX?h=82d907
About Ken Block: Ken Blockʼs 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 ten overall wins, in addition to numerous 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. His keen branding and marketing acumen has allowed Block to achieve global fame as a rally driver through his wildly successful viral videos, which include his record-setting jump for the TV series Stunt Junkies, his scenes in the DC snowboard video Mtn.Lab 1.5 and spy footage of his Subaru TRAX STI project in action, along with his Gymkhana videos. Ad Age named his “Gymkhana TWO” the No. 4 Viral Video of 2009 and his “Gymkhana THREE; Part 2 Ultimate Playground; l’Autodrome” the No. 6 Viral Video of 2010. In January 2010, he formed the Monster World Rally Team and signed with Ford to become the first American to campaign in the World Rally Championship, becoming only the second American to ever score points in the WRC during his inaugural 2010 season. Additionally, his signing with Ford included campaigning domestically in racing (Rally America and X Games), as well as continuing to do gymkhana. Block co-founded DC Shoes, a worldwide leader in performance skateboarding shoes and a renowned action sports brand.
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 team is supported by Monster Energy, Ford Motor Company, DC Shoes, Mobil 1, Pirelli Tires and the Dirt3 videogame.
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