Monday, February 14, 2011


February 14, 2011, Karlstad, Sweden – Behind the wheel of the all-new 2011 Monster Energy Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Monster World Rally Team driver Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino persevered over Rally Sweden's 351 slippery and treacherous stage miles to finish a formidable 14th overall and score two manufacturer points along the way. Not only was this Block's maiden voyage in Ford's new turbo 1.6-liter rally car, but also his foray into racing on snow with studded tires.

"This was an extremely tough rally for me," says Block. "On Friday, we were farther off the pace of the top drivers than we have ever been in our WRC career. But slowly and surely we lessened the gap. We knew coming to Sweden it was going to be one of our biggest challenges this year. I just don't have the experience on snow these other drivers do. After all, I am just a kid who grew up in Southern California."

With the early portion of the rally being sacked by heavy snowfall, course conditions proved to cause difficulties for even the most experienced competitors in the field during the first leg of the race. Even 7-time champion Sébastien Loeb found himself as far back as 9th overall on day 1, and only managed to climb his way up to a 6th overall finish.

On the early stages of leg 1, Block and Gelsomino's times were just shy of 4-seconds per kilometer off the leading pace—the farthest off the lead that Block has ever been in the WRC. However, as conditions improved, and Block became more confident in the new Fiesta, the pair made massive improvements and went on to a best pace of 1.9-seconds per kilometer off of the lead by the final stage of the rally.

"Our goal for Sweden was to come here and learn it the best we could," says Monster team manager Derek Dauncey. "We knew we weren’t going to just show up and match our gravel and tarmac pace here on the snow. That said, I am quite pleased with Ken’s performance. From the first to last stage of the rally Ken continued to improve his pace, eventually finding himself less than 2 seconds off the lead, which is very impressive for a Rally Sweden debut."

But for Block, the highlight of the weekend was taking the Colin’s Crest Award, bestowed upon the driver who leaps the furthest over the infamous jump on stage 2 that’s named after the late, great Colin McRae.

“Colin was not only a good friend to me, but a huge inspiration and a big reason that I’m rally racing, so I couldn't be more stoked to have won this award,” says Block. "It proves that even on one of my worst days in a rally car, I can still try to have fun and earn an award for hooning. I would imagine that would have made Colin proud.”

The next WRC round for MWRT will be Corona Rally Mexico, March 4-6. Until then, follow the team at, and