This weekend kicks off the 2011 World Rally Championship season with Rally Sweden. Ken Block, driver of the Monster World Rally Team Ford Fiesta, talks about running an expanded WRC schedule and his overall plans for 2011.
KEN BLOCK - Monster Energy World Rally Championship Team Ford Fiesta
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT GEARING UP FOR THE 2011 SEASON WITH THE WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP [WRC] RALLY SWEDEN COMING UP THIS WEEKEND?
"I've had a nice off-season through the holidays and all of that. This week starts my hectic schedule. Our first event is actually in Sweden in the snow. I've raced in snow plenty of times but I've never raced on studs, so this will be my first time actually getting used to the feeling racing on skinny tires fully studded. That's quite typical in the WRC, racing on studs. It's just not something we do here in America. It's going to be a big learning curve for me. There are a lot of learning curves ahead this year. We're in a new WRC car. We're actually in a Ford Fiesta. The Monday before I start racing will actually be my first time to test in the car. Unfortunately they just haven't been able to have the car completely ready yet so I haven't done any testing in it before this first test. It's going to be quite hectic. I'm doing a lot of things to get ready for the season, but until we get into the car I'm not going to know what it's going to be like. I'm stoked. M-Sport has built this amazing new car for us and I'm really excited and ready to get this season underway."
YOU ACTUALLY DROVE THE FIESTA HERE IN THE US FOR RALLY AMERICA AND GYMKHANA. DOES THAT GIVE YOU A LEG UP ON THE OTHER FORD TEAMS?
"Unfortunately all of these cars are so different, they're all Fiestas, but the new specifications for WRC is so different from everything that I've been racing that it's going to be like starting over for me. I wish it was giving me some sort of advantage, but it isn't. It's all basically starting from scratch. The Fiesta and the setup are really going to be good for me. The type of car and the way it handles is something I'm more familiar with so I'm really looking forward to getting into it and getting it going."
YOU'RE NOT RUNNING THE FULL WRC SEASON, BUT YOU'RE RUNNING SOME ADDITIONAL EVENTS IN NORTH AMERICA THIS YEAR. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE OTHER EVENTS YOU PLAN ON DOING THIS YEAR?
"This year, I'm really quite lucky as far as a driver goes because I do so many different things. This year it looks like I'm doing the majority of the WRC. On top of that I'm doing X Games, some Gymkhana events, potentially doing some of the North American RallyCross events and potentially some of the RallyAmerica events. Unfortunately though, we haven't finalized my schedule completely yet so we haven't been able to tell what events that I will be going to yet. That's the amazing thing for me that I get to go drive all of these different cars and all of these different events. I really enjoy that sort of variety as opposed to going to one championship and doing one thing."