April 23rd, 2006
Subaru Rally Team drivers Travis Pastrana and Ken Block have finished 2nd and 3rd Overall at the Oregon Trail Rally, Round 3 of the Rally America National Championship. The two drivers, each in identically prepared 2006 Subaru WRX STI rally cars, traversed over 120 miles of technical loose gravel roads around Oregon’s Coast Mountain Range. The notoriously variable Oregon weather was absent this weekend, with clear sunny skies and mild temperatures gretting happy rally fans in the forests west of Portland.
After crashing out of Round 2 in Missouri while battling for the lead, Pastrana made it his mission to drive smart and safe. “I need the experience and it makes a lot more sense to finish well than to push and risk a crash at this point in my career,” explained Pastrana. “So we played it smart and it paid off, plus now I feel a lot more confident driving the Open Class Subaru WRX STI.” The 22 year old rally driver and his co-driver Christian Edstrom kept a safe pace all weekend increasing their speed when necessary to keep the rest of the field at bay, finishing 2nd Overall.
Pastrana’s teammate Ken Block may have been battling for the lead today but a flat tire on day 2 lost him nearly a minute and a half. The time lost put Block in a battle for the final podium spot with 2005 Open Class Champion Matt Iorio. But Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino attacked on the final stages of the rally and moved ahead of Iorio. However, Block’s 3rd Overall position was solidified soon after when Iorio retired with an engine fire. “It was really frustrating,” said Block. “We thought we had some speed and we would have liked to battle Pinker for the win, but one flat tire early in the rally put me back to battling for third.”
Block remains atop of the Overall standings in the Rally America National Championship with this strong result. Pastrana moves into 3rd Overall position behind Australian veteran Andrew Pinker who claimed victory at the Oregon Trail Rally.
Subaru Rally Team USA has had a strong start to 2006, placing one of its Open Class Subaru WRX STI rally cars in either of the top two positions in all three rounds thus far. The team will aim for more success in the Rally America National Championship at Pennsylvania’s Susquehannock Trail Rally in early June.
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