Ford World Rally champ stars in new video game

Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen, current leader of the FIA World Rally Championship, shared top billing with internet stunt driving star Ken Block at the launch of Codemasters’ DiRT 3 video game in London.

Hirvonen piloted the new Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car, which also tops the world championship standings, in a series of exciting driving displays at the city’s iconic Battersea Power Station.

Block, one of DiRT 3’s driving stars and also the game’s technical consultant, delivered spectacular stunt driving in the Ford Focus RS World Rally Car, which he drove in the 2010 world championship. The American currently pilots a Fiesta RS WRC for the Ford-supported Monster World Rally Team in the championship.

DiRT 3 features the largest rally content in the series to date, accounting for 60 percent of its extensive career mode. The Fiesta RS WRC is just one of the 10 Ford rally cars featured in the game. The latest game boasts more cars, locations, routes and events than ever before, with over 50 iconic rally cars from five decades of the sport. The featured rally stages are set across three continents and players must learn to master asphalt, gravel and snow in both dry and wet conditions.

Hirvonen and his Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team Fiesta RS WRC attended the launch just hours before heading to Jordan to begin preparations for the fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, which begins there next Thursday.

Block, who drives a Fiesta RS WRC in DiRT 3, is known worldwide for his skills behind the wheel of a specially-prepared Fiesta in the Gymkhana THREE video, which has attracted almost 30 million views on the YouTube video sharing site.

DiRT 3 features a “gymkhana” mode which gives gamers the chance to replicate Block’s crazy drifts from the safety of their own homes.

The Fiesta RS WRC is based on Ford’s successful Fiesta road car. Hirvonen won on the car’s debut in Sweden in February, where it claimed a clean sweep of the podium places.

It was developed by M-Sport, Ford’s WRC partner, in conjunction with Ford of Europe. Such is the technical accuracy of DiRT 3 that designers visited M-Sport’s base in the UK to learn about the technology used in the development of the Fiesta RS WRC, so aspects could be assimilated into the game.

Ford of Europe motorsport chief and Cork native, Gerard Quinn, also attended today’s launch and said: “The Ford Fiesta RS WRC currently leads both the manufacturer and drivers’ standings in the WRC. The car contains the latest technology thanks to the expertise of engineers from Ford of Europe and M-Sport, and we’re delighted to see this captured in DiRT 3. The game is a great way to showcase the car.”

DiRT 3 will be released globally on May 24 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. A trailer for the new game is available



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