COLOGNE, 29 January 2010 – American action sports icon Ken Block, who already has a huge fan base in Europe through the internet, kicks off his relationship with Ford Motor Company this weekend. His Monster World Rally Team debuts the exciting new Monster Fiesta Rally America car at the Sno*Drift Rally (29 - 30 January) in Atlanta, Michigan.

Monster World Rally Team will contest all six rounds of the Rally America series and Block's North American programme will culminate at the X Games 16 event in Los Angeles in early August. His co-driver is Italian Alessandro Gelsomino.

Block will combine his Rally America season with a seven-round programme in the FIA World Rally Championship at the wheel of a Ford Focus RS World Rally Car. His first outing will be at Rally Mexico (4 - 7 March) and he will also tackle WRC rallies in Turkey, Portugal, Germany, France, Spain and Britain. His Focus RS WRC will be prepared by British-based M-Sport, the company which operates Ford's official world rally programme.

Both programmes, the Rally America and the World Rally Championship, will be supported primarily by Monster Energy Drink and Ford.

The two-litre turbocharged Monster Fiesta Rally America car is prepared by Swedish team Olsbergs Motorsports Evolution (OSME) and is based on the successful production-based Fiesta Rallycross car that competed in the FIA European Rallycross Championship in 2009. OSME took a Fiesta Rallycross car to last year's famous Pikes Peak hillclimb in the United States and two weeks later won the X Games event.

Block's four-wheel drive Monster Fiesta Rally America car has been modified to comply with Rally America's Open class regulations. It is fitted with a turbo restrictor to comply with championship regulations and produces around 330bhp (326PS). Block's team spent the last few days testing the car in northern Michigan.

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"I'm very excited to finally be in the Fiesta. The Fiesta is the car that beat me last summer at X Games. Ford has a great platform with the Fiesta to develop and push a very good rally car worldwide and also in the showrooms. I'm looking forward to getting in the Fiesta and seeing what I can do in the Rally America championship and the X Games." – Ken Block, Monster World Rally Team

"The WRC has yet to reach its full potential in the United States and we hope Ken's appearance at the top level of the sport will help increase interest in such a major global market. Ken needs no introduction to motorsport fans on either side of the Atlantic and I can't wait to see the impact he will have on WRC fans around the globe. He has built a cult following with his exploits and Ford can only benefit by having him showcase the abilities of our products." – Gerard Quinn, Senior Manager Motorsport, Ford of Europe

"It's fantastic for the sport that Ken will join the WRC this season – and even better that it will be with Ford. He has raised the public's awareness of rallying throughout the world and to see him competing on the stages of the WRC will provide a great boost to the championship. Ken is a larger-than-life character and his sense of fun and adventure, combined with his competitive instincts, will be warmly welcomed." – Malcolm Wilson, Managing Director, M-Sport

"Ford has a long, winning tradition in European rallying and with Ken Block and Fiesta, we're bringing that to North America for fans to experience first hand. There will be a little bit of rally in every Fiesta. It's the right form of motorsports to showcase the driving dynamics of Fiesta. What people need to remember, as Ken races down the course this weekend, his car started off as a production vehicle. It is a true testament to the capability built into every Ford Fiesta." – Jamie Alison, director, Ford North American Motorsports

"Ken Block is competing in Rally America and the FIA World Rally Championship, which covers four continents in 2010, and this is a great achievement. It means rallying is truly becoming a global sport. Co-operation with Ford and, as a result, his drive with Fiesta in Rally America and with Focus RS WRC in global WRC events, underlines the strengths of both vehicles around the globe. We can expect some really great action!" – Jost Capito, Director Global Performance Vehicles & Motorsport Business Development, Ford Motor Company

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 compete 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 its 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.

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.

Monster Fiesta Rally America Car
Technical Data:
2.0-liter I-4 engine, mounted longitudinally, with Garrett turbocharger
Horsepower: Capable of 493 hp @ 8,000 rpm but Rally America required turbo-inlet restrictor will limit the engine to 330 hp @ 7,000 rpm
Torque: 553 lb.-ft. @ 6,000 rpm
Maktrak/Olsbergs MSE 6-speed sequential transmission
Driveline: 4wd with front, center and rear mechanical differentials
15-inch Speedline magnesium wheels with Pirelli gravel-spec tires
Front suspension: modified MacPherson strut
Rear suspension: double wishbones
Alcon 4-wheel disc brakes with 4-piston front and rear calipers
Steering: rack and pinion, 1.5 turns lock-to-lock
Body design by Olsbergs MSE: stock steel roof and doors; other panels are Kevlar and carbon fiber
Integrated rear wing and front spoiler
Vehicle weight: 2,900 lb.
Acceleration: 0 to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds
Top speed: 155 mph

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