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BRENTWOOD, England – Ford rally driver Mikko Hirvonen shared top billing with internet stunt driving star Ken Block at the launch of Codemasters’ DiRT 3 video game in London today.
Hirvonen piloted the new Fiesta RS World Rally Car, which 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 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 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. The Fiesta RS WRC is one of 10 Ford rally cars featured in the game.
Battersea Power Station was the location used to film a trailer for the game, with its famous quad towers and surrounding post-industrial terrain providing a perfect backdrop for Hirvonen and Block to showcase their driving skills.
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 jaw-dropping 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.
Ford of Europe motorsport chief Gerard Quinn also attended today’s launch and said: “The Ford Fiesta RS WRC currently leads both the manufacturers’ 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.”
Gehan Pathiraja, Senior Games Designer (Car Handling), DiRT 3, Codemasters, comments: “As part of the research process for DiRT 3 we visited Ford’s rally headquarters at M-Sport in Cumbria, UK, which was extremely helpful in helping us understand exactly how rally cars are developed.
“It enabled us to gain a better understanding of how the cars behave and exactly why they behave in that way. This encapsulates things like how the structure of the car and the position of the engine are different from what you’d expect to find in an average road car. It also helped us to understand the safety features which impact, not only on our damage system, but also on the stability of the car itself.
“Once the cars are built in game we work closely with Ken Block to make sure that they feel as close to the real thing as possible. Having Ken’s input is vital as he has driven these cars at speed in rallies so he has a better understanding of the handling than anyone else.”
DiRT 3 will be released globally on May 24 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows.