Ken Block's deal to contest selected rounds of the World Rally Championship has been confirmed, with the American rally driver's program expected to start from round three in Mexico.
Block first expressed hopes of driving a Ford Focus RS WRC in the 2010 championship last year, but it took until today before the agreement between Block and sponsor Monster Energy could be announced. The rallying and extreme sports star warned that it would take him time to get up to speed in the WRC.
"Racing in the World Rally Championship has always been a dream of mine but I'd still be dreaming if I promised podiums in the near future," said Block. "I will be going head to head with the greatest drivers on the planet. And, sure, I will be giving it my all but my main objective for 2010 is to develop into a competitive driver for 2011 and beyond."
Monster Energy president Mark Hall said he was delighted to be joining Block in the new venture.
"A radically extreme form of motorsport with supremely talented drivers who compete on gravel, asphalt, snow and ice really mirrors everything we are about," he said. "For that reason, Monster Energy is pleased to join Ken Block in the formation of the Monster Energy World Rally Team.
"Factoring in that Ken will be chasing the 2010 Rally America Championship Series, a Gold Medal at X Games XVI while continuing to scheme-up new videos and mind-altering stunts, Monster couldn't have a finer ambassador in our new venture into rally."
M-Sport will prepare the Focus for Block and chairman of the Cumbrian firm Malcolm Wilson said, "It is great news that Ken will be joining the WRC and even better that it will be with Ford. Ken has been instrumental in elevating the public awareness of rallying throughout the world with his multimedia exploits, particularly in the U.S., which is a key global market and an area where WRC has yet to reach its full potential.
"Ken's appearance in the WRC and his desire to compete toe to toe at the highest level is indicative of the determination and drive that he has exhibited in all areas of his life to date – be it in business or personal targets. Ken is a colorful character with a huge international fan base and his decision to appear in the WRC is warmly welcomed."
Former factory Subaru driver Chris Atkinson had been expected to join Block in a two-car Monster Ford team this season, but there has been no announcement about the Australian's plans yet.