Whangarei, NZ: After much anticipation, Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block is kicking off his 2015 race season this coming weekend in New Zealand. His first event of the year will be the International Rally of Whangarei, located on the North Island of New Zealand and starting today he’ll be commencing with two days of testing to prepare for the event.
“I’m excited to finally get back behind the wheel of my Ford Fiesta HFHV and doing proper stage rally,” said Block. “I haven’t had the chance to drive competitively since mid-December, and since my main focus these days is rallycross, not stage rally, logging some proper stage miles with my co-driver Alex [Gelsomino] is going to be a fun time. It’s also a big bonus for me that the roads down here in New Zealand are some of my absolute favorites in the world. Cambered, undulating gravel roads? Sounds like a great way for me to kick off this season.”
Block has raced in New Zealand six times earlier in his career, first competing in 2007 four times (Otago, Whangarei, the 2007 WRC round and Nelson Rally), including making podium with a 3rd overall finish at Nelson. In between the WRC round and Nelson that same year, he filmed a segment for DC Shoes Mtn.Lab 1.5, a video in which he drove around a snowboard park with fellow DC athletes and also jumped a Group N rally car off multiple snowboard jumps (and subsequently cracked a vertebrae!). He also competed in a Group N car in the 2008 round of WRC New Zealand and then made a return in 2012 when he competed in the New Zealand WRC round in the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, an event where he made the top ten with a 9th overall finish.
With a 2015 season focus on the Global Rallycross Championship back in America, Block is only able to work in four stage rally events this season. International Rally of Whangarei will be the first of two rounds of the New Zealand National Championship that Block will contest in 2015—Otago Rally being the other—and the other two stage rallies he competes in during this season will be Rally America’s NEFR and LSPR events. To see how he does this weekend, be sure to follow along on Block’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.