January 27th, 2006
Subaru Rally Team USA has finished their debut event, the SnoDrift Rally, in 2nd and 4th Overall. Team drivers Travis Pastrana and Ken Block dominated most of the rally, round one of the 2006 Rally America National Championship, winning 8 of the 17 icy stages in their 2006 Subaru WRX STI rally cars.
On Day 1 Ken Block burst into the lead early and ended the day with the overall rally lead, but teammate Travis Pastrana was a mere seven seconds behind in 2nd Overall. “This is the first time I’ve lead a leg of a rally, and it was very gratifying for us to be sitting 1st and 2nd Overall on the team’s debut event,” explained Block.
Day 2 began with more of the same great results as the X-Games star Pastrana eventually overtook Block’s seven second advantage and moved into the lead. But it all went wrong for both drivers on stage ten, midway through the day. Pastrana hit a rock in the middle of the road that caused both tires on the right side of his car to go flat. With stage ten being a massive 25 miles long, it was necessary for Pastrana and his co-driver Christian Edstrom to stop on the stage and change one of the tires with their one spare on board. With the time lost from stopping as well as limping along for nearly twenty miles with their right rear tire in shreds, the pair lost well over six minutes and the rally lead.
“We ran such a great rally, we were going cautiously and really staying out of trouble, but then on the longest stage of the rally we just hit a random rock in the middle of the road and both tires on the right went flat,” explained Pastrana. “The car just wouldn’t turn left, it was a disaster, we lost over six minutes and for sure a possible victory right there.”
Meanwhile, Block made a mistake entering an icy turn on that same stage and beached his car on a snowbank. Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino would eventually get pulled off the snowbank by none other than the already flat tire stricken Pastrana. Block would lose well over seven minutes, an eternity in rallying.
The team went from being in control of the rally to playing catch-up down in 4th and 5th overall. But both drivers immediately got down to business though and worked their way back up to 2nd and 4th. The gap to the overall leader was too great for Pastrana to overcome so late in the rally and he had to settle for 2nd Overall. While Block felt lucky to have finished such a difficult event, where the road conditions were nothing short of treacherous with melting snow and ice in unseasonably warm northern Michigan conditions. Nonetheless an impressive debut for the two drivers and the new 2006 Subaru WRX STI. The team heads next to the 100 Acre Wood Rally, an all gravel event in Missouri’s ‘Mark Twain National Forest’, near Salem.
Subaru Rally Team USA is proudly supported by DC Shoes, Red Bull, Michelin, SPT (Subaru Performance Parts), STI (Subaru Technica International), PIAA, Motul, Alpinestars and Recaro.