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Monster World Rally: Rally Sweden

Ken Block survives his first ever visit to WRC Sweden, taking home the Colin's Crest Award.

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.

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 race in the series, boasting a healthy ten overall wins, in addition to numerous 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. His keen branding and marketing acumen has allowed Block to achieve global fame as a rally driver through his wildly successful viral videos, which include his record-setting jump for the TV series Stunt Junkies, his scenes in the DC snowboard video Mtn.Lab 1.5 and spy footage of his Subaru TRAX STI project in action, along with his Gymkhana videos. Ad Age named his "Gymkhana TWO" the No. 4 Viral Video of 2009 and his "Gymkhana THREE; Part 2 Ultimate Playground; 'Autodrome" the No. 6 Viral Video of 2010. In January 2010, he formed the Monster World Rally Team and signed with Ford to become the first American to campaign in the World Rally Championship, becoming only the second American to ever score points in the WRC during his inaugural 2010 season. Additionally, his signing with Ford included campaigning domestically in racing (Rally America and X Games), as well as continuing to do gymkhana. Block co-founded DC Shoes, a worldwide leader in performance skateboarding shoes and a renowned action sports brand.

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 team is supported by Monster Energy, Ford Motor Company, DC Shoes, Mobil 1, Pirelli Tires and the Dirt3 videogame.

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iMages Courtesy of and Copyright McKlien, press release from Monster World Rally Team.