As automotive journalists, manufacturers give us the keys to some pretty cool cars, occasionally on a racetrack, with one prime directive: whatever you do, don’t wreck it. Ken Block, on the other hand, gets paid to bin cars. Journalists and manufacturers call this “crashing”; Ken Block calls this “testing”, “evaluation”, or “research and development”.
Take this latest video from the Monster World Rally Team for example. Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino are testing the Monster Ford Fiesta at the UK’s Greystoke Forest, in about the worst conditions imaginable. Wheel sucking mud, coupled with standing water and the occasional bits of snow and ice, makes for some tricky driving at low speeds. At rally speeds, even Ken Block can’t save the car when it rotates after hydroplaning, sending Block and Gelsomino into an inconveniently located pine tree. Neither was hurt, but the Monster World Rally Team mechanics got to put in for overtime rebuilding the car in time for this weekend’s Rally Great Britain.
I’ll bet that Ford won’t blacklist Block for stacking the Fiesta, and he probably doesn’t even have to fill out a fifteen page accident report like us journalists would. Sure, he’s fast, but he’d never make it in the life-on-the-razor’s-edge world of automotive journalism.