Well Ken Block, one of Subaru’s American Rally drivers and DC co-founder, will be signing a multi-year contract with Ford to compete in the WRC with Block’s current sponsor, Monster Energy Drinks. Joining the team will be Christ Atkinson, now-defunct Subaru’s World Rally Team number two driver. These drivers and sponsors will form what will become the Monster Energy Drink World Rally Team.
Although I’m incredibly happy to hear that Atkinson is getting a seat I’m skeptical about Block. He has achieved quite a bit in his short career to include Rally America’s 2005 Rookie of the Year along with numerous podium finishes in the Rally American National Championship and X Games. Although impressive, history has shown us that to be fast you have to put in the time to grow, and Block is still in his infancy, at least in Rally. Block is quite a successful businessman and promoter as his wildly popular Gymkhana videos have shown us but the skills they present are those of a wheelman, not a world class Rally racer. My skepticism leads me to the question, “Why Ken Block and not Travis Pastrana?”
Travis Pastrana is a legendary Freestyle and Motocross rider as well as an accomplished American Rally driver. Out of twenty two rallies Pastrana won eight and podiumed seventeen of them. He’s a two-time Rally American National Champion (youngest ever at twenty three years of age) and has won copious amounts of medals at the X Games, on both two and four wheels. Those accomplishments brought forth a great opportunity in 2007. Subaru sent Pastrana to three WRC events to race a Group N STi alongside the world’s best. Pastrana didn’t disappoint placing fifth in Mexico, tenth in Argentina and eleventh in Wales. That looks to be a more qualified resume for a potential WRC driver to me.
If this were a movie where I was an excellent detective about to debunk a crime against the world of Rally I would approach the bad guy real smooth like and say, “I’ve got you and now you’ll get away with this. The people won’t have it; I won’t have it! You think you’ve pulled a quick one on us, covering our eyes with flat brimmed caps. You think you’ve won the hearts and minds of the people with power slides and precision maneuvers filmed in slow motion but you underestimate the average car enthusiast. You may have an Army of drones with skateboards, chunky shoes, ill-fitting pants and obnoxious graphic tees that you fuel with fitly named Monster drinks, but we, we are stronger and more intelligent. We are fueled by passion and educated by the likes of Walter Rohrl. We are inspired by Colin McRae. We hate yet respect Sebastien Loeb without explanation. We (long pause) we are grassroots Rally.” Then the fuzz would come in with guns drawn and apprehend the figurative Ford and Monster, fighting the whole way downtown. Block would go quietly and later be released because he is a patsy. He would then return to an abandoned air field and slide his Subaru around and I would watch from home, through YouTube, and continue to be entertained while I write fiction.
But seriously though, I wish Ken Block the best of luck in his WRC endeavor