Gymkhana star and X Games medallist Ken Block will contest World RX of Norway this weekend in his Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta as part of a three-round campaign in this year’s FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy.
Block -- who is an internet sensation after racking up millions of hits thanks to his hugely popular Gymkhana series on YouTube -- has been rallying since 2005, having competed in America’s national championship and selected rounds of the WRC. We caught up with Block to find out what attracted him to the FIA’s newest World Championship which is being promoted by IMG, and who he’s most looking forward to racing against this season…
Q. You’ve got a busy year ahead Ken, but what drew you towards competing in a three-round World RX campaign?
“I've been enjoying racing rallycross the last few years and I've been keeping an eye on the European circuits since they look like really fun tracks. I've also been curious about the level of competition and I'm looking forward to seeing how I stack up against the guys that are running in World RX.”
Q. Can you explain what makes rallycross different from other forms of motorsport? What is it you like about rallycross?
“Rallycross is different than other forms of motorsport because of its intense format. The races themselves aren't that long, which means everyone is very aggressive right off the line. Combine that aggression with the fact that people are going door to door fighting for corners and it's highly entertaining for both the drivers and the fans. I like it because it's such a challenge and lets me use a whole different form of racecraft than what I use in stage rallies.”
Q. Have you had much experience of the car, and how much testing will you do in the car before your first round at Hell?
“The car we're running is an updated version of the 2013 Ford Fiesta ST RX43 that we debuted last year in America and it's based on the M-Sport WRC car, which is a chassis that I have a lot of seat-time in, so I'd say I'm very comfortable in the car. We had a testing and shakedown day a few weeks ago and it went well, so the next time I'll be in the car will be during practice for Hell. I can't wait to get back behind the wheel."
Q. Who are you most looking forward to pitting yourself against in World RX this season?
“I'd say Petter. He's a good friend of mine and he's so talented behind the wheel. I think him and I will have a lot of fun out there competing with each other at these events.”
Q. How do the European fans compare to those back home in the USA?
“I'm not sure yet since this'll be my first time dealing with true European rallycross fans! I'm thinking they'll be just as passionate as the fans back home since there's a stronger awareness of rally in Europe. Maybe even more so!”