KEN BLOCK ON WORLD RX: "MY GOAL IS TO TRY AND WIN"
Last month, Ken Block and his Hoonigan Racing team announced a full campaign in the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship, partnered by Ford Performance. Full story here.
FIAWorldRallycross.com recently caught up with the American superstar to get his thoughts on his first full season of World RX and on his new team-mate, Norway’s Andreas Bakkerud.
Q: What do you expect to be your biggest challenge in your first season of World RX?
KB: “I think the knowledge of all of the tracks is the biggest challenge on my side right now. A lot of these other guys know the tracks intimately, having raced on them many times previously. So, I see that as my biggest disadvantage off the bat.”
Q: Which events are you most looking forward to competing at?
KB: “I'm definitely looking forward to returning to Norway! I loved that track, the fans were amazing, the countryside around there is absolutely breathtaking and I happened to end up on the podium the last time I was there.”
Q: Are you looking forward to returning to Hell and Loheac, where you already have experience of the circuits?
KB: “Absolutely. Things like having raced on a circuit previously are such a huge advantage. I enjoyed both circuits and did well at both, so I think to be able to return will work well for myself.”
Q: What are your expectations in terms of results?
KB: “I don't think it's going to be an easy season whatsoever, but my goal obviously is to try and win the championship! I have a great team, factory support from Ford Performance and a great second driver to help us out. I'm feeling optimistic at this point.”
Q: Is this your first shot at becoming a bona fide FIA World Champion. Is that part of the appeal?
KB: “That's certainly an appealing part of why I'm heading into this championship. I was never able to fully commit the time and resources to the WRC when I was doing that, but now I'm in a great position to campaign for the title and I intend on pushing myself to the limit to try and win it.”
Q: Are you looking forward to rekindling your rivalry with Petter Solberg?
KB: “Definitely! I really like and respect Petter, he's a great guy off the track and a serious competitor on the track, I think we're going to have a lot of fun this season racing each other.”
Q: Will you be able to use Andreas' experience of World RX to learn from and help you get up to speed at the circuits you don't know?
KB: “This is definitely something that Andreas brings to the table and one of the bonuses of bringing him on to help us compete this year. As team-mates, I'll be leaning on him heavily at times for recommendations on certain circuits. Like I mentioned earlier, that knowledge is hugely advantageous to the other drivers out here."
Q: Why did Andreas stand out as a good option for a team-mate in World RX this year?
KB: “Well, he's been able to achieve some very impressive results at a fairly young age, he's got the right attitude behind the wheel and off the track and he's got a great personality. I think he's a good fit not only with myself, but with my entire organisation, and that's important. He's hugely competitive and I think he's going to help us a lot when it comes to trying to bring home the championship.”
Q: Have you and Andreas managed to spend time getting to know each other at all over the winter?
KB: “We have, actually. He's just wrapping up a week-long stay in my hometown of Park City, Utah, where we've done some pre-season bootcamp with my trainer, hung out at the Sundance Film Festival and done some snowboarding and skiing. We get along great, which is why I see this relationship working at the track in 2016.”
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