RALLY AND EXTREME SPORTS star Ken Block is set to bring his brand of flair and invention to the international stage after it was reported he will join the World Rally Championship next season.
According to Autosport, Block will sign a three-year deal with the Ford-backed Monster Energy Dink World Rally Team, and is poised to be paired with Australia?s Chris Atkinson.
While the team is expected to compete in only half of the WRC events next season in a 2009-spec Focus, Block and Atkinson will unleash a full assault on the championship in 2011, where it is likely they will race in the new Fiesta WRC car.
Block?s acquisition is a boon to the series and will no doubt boost the profile of rally in North America, providing the sport with a golden chance to gain a solid foothold outside Europe.
?Ken Block is an iconic figure in US motorsport and a major box office personality. It wouldn't get much better than this for the WRC going into North America,? WRC global promoter Simon Long told Autosport.
Although Block first rose to prominence as co-founder of DC Shoes, the 41-year-old has reinvented himself as an extreme sports legend since he started rallying in 2005, gaining worldwide fame through his gymkhana viral videos.
Block has also competed in the Rally America series for Subaru Rally Team USA, winning the Rookie of the Year title in his debut year and finishing second overall in 2006 and 2008. In addition, he claimed silver in rally at the 2007 X Games.
Atkinson raced for the Subaru World Rally Team between 2005 - 2008, recording six podiums finishes and 40 stage wins, while his best WRC series result was fifth in his final year with the squad.
The 30-year-old was signed to race for Citroen?s junior team this season, but a lack of funding prevented him from taking part in more than one event.