It’s been four years since Ken Block last competed in the FIA World Rally Championship, this week he makes his return in a M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC as he takes on the 2018 RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España.
Last time out in the 2014 edition of the rally, Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino finished twelfth place before he headed off to take part in FIA World Rallycross Championship with Ford full-time. Since Ford ended their Rallycross programme at the end of 2017, Block has had a limited schedule, taking part in the new Americas Rallycross championship and the North American Rally Cup in his Ford Escort RS Cosworth, which sadly went up in flames earlier this year.
“I’m obviously really happy to be back and participating in the WRC,” said Block. “Especially here in Spain. It’s been 4 years since I’ve done a WRC round, which seems wild to me that it’s been so long, but obviously I’ve been very focused on rallycross the past few years.”
“Alex [Gelsomino] and myself logged two solid days of testing last week, and it was our first time in the current car together on a rally stage. It’s really quick and incredible to drive! And when I say that, I mean that it has a lot of capability that I’m not able to exploit simply due to lack seat time.
“I drove it in the snow for part of Gymkhana TEN, but that is nothing like racing it at full speed down a rally stage. I’m being extremely realistic about the race weekend and I’m also being very upfront about my personal expectations,”
“The goal is to get out there, drive as fast as I can, but to bring it home clean and just have a great time. The rest of the top teams have almost two full years racing this car and can fully exploit all of the aero work that these new cars now feature, but I simply don’t have that comfort level to lean into it on the high-speed corners and blindly trust it yet. And that’s ok!
“I’m just thrilled I have this awesome opportunity to come out and drive the best car in the field amongst the best rally drivers on the planet on some of—what I feel at least—are some of the best roads in the championship as well. So yeah, I’m stoked to get onto the stages here in Spain!”
The 54. RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada 2018 gets under way on Thursday 25 October with the crowd favourite Barcelona city stage returning to the event.
Follow The Checkered Flag throughout the event for updates each day.
Gymkhana TEN launches on 16 November as part of the Amazon Prime Video series The Gymkhana Files.