Ford Motor Company announced today (January 6) that it is teaming up with Ken Block, the California-based action sports icon-turned-rally driver, for future global motorsports opportunities.

Block, the 2005 Rally America Rookie of the Year and a three-time medalist at X Games, has cultivated a tremendous following with his Gymkhana videos on YouTube. In 2010, Block will campaign a Ford Focus in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and a Ford Fiesta in Rally America and X Games.

"I am stoked to be rallying in a Ford. They are an impressive force in the sport," said Ken Block. "From the days of the 1970s Escorts to the Group B RS200 to the modern-day Focus and now the Fiesta, Ford just does an excellent job at rally and I couldn't be happier to now be part of this amazing heritage. Not to mention my dad would be proud. He was a dedicated Ford guy."

"Ken Block has established himself as an action sports competitor and a rising star in the world of American rally racing," said Jamie Allison, director Ford North America Motorsports. "We are excited to have him on our team to help promote our new global products, the 2011 Ford Fiesta and 2012 Ford Focus."

Rallying is a crucial part of Ford's global motorsports strategy and provides the company with the opportunity to showcase the true performance capabilities of Ford's products. Since its support of rallying began, Ford has won three WRC titles and 73 individual events. And, last year in North America, Ford's participation in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and X Games 15 were key elements for the launch of the Ford Fiesta for the U.S.

"Thanks to our participation in WRC, rallying has always played a key role in Ford's global motorsports programs," said Allison. "Ford is the only manufacturer that could provide Ken with global rally opportunities."

"We're delighted that Ken Block has chosen to team up with Ford to develop his rallying activities beyond America and into the global arena," said Gerard Quinn, Ford of Europe's senior motorsports manager. "Ford and its U.K.-based rally partner, M-Sport, is looking forward to welcoming Ken to the wider team of talented rally drivers using Ford vehicles to compete in this demanding sport at the highest level internationally."

There is no word yet about a possible partner for Block at the team, although his friend, former Subaru driver Chris Atkinson was linked to the team last year.

Further details about this, and the number of rallies Block and the team will tackle in 2010, are expected shortly.

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