As a mark of respect for rally and gymkhana icon Ken Block, who died in a snowmobile accident near his Utah ranch on January 2 aged 55, the FIA, in conjunction with the organizers of the World Rally Championship number 43 to retire for the 2023 season.
Block competed under the number 43 from the beginning of his motorsport career, including in some WRC rounds in the 2000s. He made his WRC debut in Mexico in 2007 and eventually amassed 25 starts, mostly behind the wheel of M-Sport Ford cars.
He also competed in rallycross, including the X Games, American, European, and global championships. However, his greatest claim to fame was his gymkhana videos, the first of which simply consisted of Block honing his rallying skills in front of the camera. That was in 2006, and the concept has endured to this day.
Although Block hasn’t had much success in the WRC, his influence on the sport and rallying in general cannot be underestimated. Thanks to his love of fan engagement and stunts like his gymkhana videos, Block has been able to introduce rallying to a much wider audience, which hasn’t gone unnoticed at the FIA.
“Although it is a small gesture, we hope it will bring some comfort to his family and friends at this time,” Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the President of the FIA, said in a statement. “Ken was a true legend and the memory of that true legend will live with us forever.”