May 9th, 2004
Colchester, Vermont (May 9, 2004) The Subaru Rim of the World Rally, the 3rd round of the 2004 SCCA ProRally Championship, took place this past weekend on the dusty and treacherous loose gravel roads in the mountains of the Angeles National Forest, just a short drive northeast of Los Angeles. The nearly 100 miles of competitive roads snake up and along the mountaintops and if the cliffs don’t catch out the drivers the huge rocks and jumps will. Of the 72 cars that started the rally only 40 finished. To a rally driver just finishing this event in one piece is an accomplishment worth celebrating.
Vermont SportsCar debuted two new 2004 Subaru WRX STi Group N rally cars at the Subaru Rim of the World Rally, driven by 24-year-old top American rally driver Ramana Lagemann and 20-year-old X-Games star Travis Pastrana. Rim was Ramana’s first gravel rally in six months, and for Travis only his second rally ever and first gravel rally! Ramana teamed up with his co-driver from 2003, Michael Orr of the UK, while the experienced Christian Edstrom performed co-driving duties for Travis.
Over the past few months Ramana has taught Travis driving techniques and strategies to help him go faster and how to get the most out of a high performance rally car. At Rim they drove as a team, in nearly identical Group N Subaru rally cars, sporting a crowd favorite blue ‘urban-camouflage’ graphics.
Pastrana exceeded everyone’s expectations by finishing 3rd in class and 4th Overall just seven seconds behind Lagemann. More amazing is the fact that he was fastest on two of the rally’s 14 competitive stages. “To be the fastest driver among dozens of veteran rally drivers on your first gravel rally, and in a new car that you have never driven, is just amazing” said Lance Smith, Team Manager and President of Vermont SportsCar. “We figured Travis had the talent to be a great rally driver but we didn’t think it would show this quickly, we were stunned!”
Ramana lost nearly a minute on the first night of competition after getting stuck in the dust from the cars running ahead of him on the road. “A few times we had to come to a dead stop and just wait for the dust to settle, we just couldn’t see anything,” said Ramana. On day two Ramana drove conservatively as he got accustomed to the new car and made some minor adjustments to his suspension setup. Ramana finished the event 2nd in Group N and 3rd Overall. “We really just wanted to finish this rally in one piece and maybe push a little bit if possible,” explained Ramana. “The car is brand new and besides the shakedown before the rally I have not driven it at all, so I may have been a bit too careful at times but all in all it was a great event. I really want to thank Subaru and Vermont SportsCar for working so hard to keep me in a competitive car this year.”
Vermont SportsCar is proudly supported by Motul Lubricants, PIAA competition lights, RECARO seats and Speedline Wheels. For more information on the rally efforts of Subaru of America visit the newly updated www.rally.subaru.com.