Ken Block in Barbados for Rally Barbados 2020

Ken Block in Barbados for Rally Barbados 2020

American motor sport star Ken Block is in the island and looking forward to this weekend’s (October 31/November 1) Sol Rally Barbados 2020, an event he says he has “wanted to do for years”. And before he gets down to the serious business of competition, he will participate in a socially-distanced Meet & Greet and Autograph Session with fans at Automotive Art, Welches, tomorrow evening (Friday).

Block and long-term co-driver Alex Gelsomino were originally entered in the Hoonigan Racing Division’s reimagined 1990s Ford Escort Cosworth – ‘CossieV2’ – as part of the second Cossie World Tour but date changes around the world caused by the coronavirus pandemic changed their plans. They will now campaign a brand-new EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta Rally2 among the record entry of seven in the island’s fast-growing FIA R5 class, with support from Ford Performance and Monster Energy.

At yesterday’s (Wednesday) Briefing Meeting, Block said that he is looking forward to the weekend: “I haven’t driven an R5 for 15 months, when I did a comparison test with the Cossie in Ireland, something I’d been thinking about since the day the Ford Escort Cossie V2 was finished. I’m familiar with the chassis, so it won’t take too long to settle in.” Since then, he has this morning tested the M-Sport built car at a very damp Bushy Park, where it arrived at last week.

With around six million followers on each of Facebook and Instagram, Block is one of the most-recognised names in global motor sport, with a huge boost in coverage promised for the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event as the island struggles to rebuild its tourism industry. He has already been posting images and clips of his time in the island, a catamaran trip and swimming with turtles among the local attractions he has enjoyed. And the fans have been joining in, too, welcoming him back.

Tomorrow’s Autograph Session between 6.00pm and 7.00pm will take place outside Automotive Art, Welches, where Block’s Fiesta Rally2 will be on display; all social distancing rules will apply and the wearing of masks will be strictly enforced. Before that, An Audience with Ken Block will be broadcast live on social media from inside the building: scheduled to start at 5.15pm, a short Q&A session, conducted by the ‘voice of the World Rally Championship’ Becs Williams, will be followed by questions from a select group of local media, limited in numbers by Covid Protocols.

Sol RB20 is not Block’s first visit to compete in Barbados, following his earlier appearances in the Red Bull Global Rallycross series at Bushy Park and he is hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself: “Even though I was very quick here (especially in 2014), I have never had a good result. In fact, I have had two wildly bad crashes because of some strange circumstances – so, I am hoping that I can shake that bad-luck curse this weekend in Sol Rally Barbados!”

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