October 22nd, 2005
Travis Pastrana and his Vermont SportsCar teammate Ken Block have finished 2nd and 3rd in Group N at the 2005 Lake Superior Rally, the final round of the Rally America Championship. The duo battled through two days of rain and variable road conditions in their all-wheel-drive Subaru WRX STi rally cars to claim podium positions against a field of much more experienced rally drivers. The strong finish for Block means he finishes the year 3rd in the Group N standings as well as achieving Rookie of the Year honors!
The Lake Superior Pro Rally is revered by rally drivers for its difficult conditions, which typically include high speeds on tree-lined roads with variable levels of grip. The rally covered over 80 miles of competitive special stages along the northern tip of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The rally featured mostly gravel or hard packed dirt roads and one hair raising paved mountain road. With Lake Superior and stunning fall foliage as a backdrop, light to moderate rain kept the drivers on their toes all weekend.
Pastrana was nursing a broken collarbone from a motocross accident last weekend, but his pace was unaffected. He and his veteran co-driver Christian Edstrom all but secured their 2nd Overall finish on the first night of the rally with a stunning display of speed.
Pastrana was comfortably in 2nd Overall after winning two of the night’s six stages outright. After crashing at the last rally while battling for the rally lead, Pastrana was content to hold on to 2nd Overall for the remainder of the rally and gain experience safely.. He then drove his Subaru WRX STi rally car just fast enough on Saturday to keep the hard charging field behind him. “This was a lot of fun, we had no problems at all and I didn’t put a scratch on the car, its been a great season and I can’t wait for next year,” exclaimed Pastrana at the podium champagne spray.
Ken Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino didn’t have it so easy. They battled all weekend and had to charge through the difficult conditions to claim 3rd in the Group N class. “I’m not very confidant driving at night yet, I don’t have the experience yet, so we lost some time Friday and had to fight for it back on Saturday,” explained DC Shoes Co-Founder and President Ken Block. Ken and Alex attacked on Saturday, even winning one stage outright, but stayed within their limits on the slippery roads, “One of the stages was so slippery it was worse than driving at a snow rally, you had grip one second and then absolutely nothing the next,” explained Ken. Ken earned the final Group N podium spot behind his teammate and friend Travis Pastrana.
The strong finish here at LSPR secured 3rd Overall in the Group N season standings for Ken, with Travis close behind in 4th. Following the rally Ken was crowned Rookie of the Year for his amazing rise to the top of the sport in such a short time period. Ken’s first rally was less than a year ago and through training with Vermont SportsCar and guidance from his veteran co-driver Alex Gelsomino, Ken is now one of America ‘s top rally drivers alongside Pastrana.
Vermont SportsCar’s 2006 rally plans will be announced shortly, stay tuned.