Jamie Hibbard16 October 2009

Ken you handle it?

Gymkhana hero Ken Block lines up a drive in the top-flight rally championship

You might only be aware of Ken Block from driving James May around or from his interweb phenomena Gymkhana videos, but he's now lining up a proper World Rally Championship drive from next season.
 
According to a piece in this week's Autosport, Block's management have brokered a deal which will see him, and former Subaru WRC driver Chris Atkinson, in Monster Energy Drink-sponsored 2009-spec Ford Focus WRCs for half of the events next year, followed by a full season in 2011.
 
Not only will this be a great thing for Block, but it's also likely that the WRC series will use Ken's superstar status to break into North America, which it has been after for years.
 
It's intriguing to wonder how Block, a California native, got into such a European sport in the first place. But at the X-Games earlier this year, he told us how he's not some flash in the pan fanboy:
 
"I've been a rally fan since I was a little kid. Ever since I could get my hands on my parents' keys, I was sliding cars around on the dirt, jumping it - I was even arrested for jumping my car when I was 17.

"The first year I raced, I got rookie of the year and fourth in the championship. Racing rally is a gnarly sport - it takes years and years of practice and development, and you don't get better unless you really work hard at it. I've put in a lot of effort to be the best driver that I can be."
 
If you're still not convinced Block's up to the job of driving top-flight rally races, then watch this:

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