May 3rd, 2006
X Games and motocross phenom Travis Pastrana has now officially made his mark in professional rally racing by winning the Subaru Rim Of The World Rally. The Subaru Rally Team USA driver won in convincing fashion, leading from the very first stage and driving faultlessly on nearly 100 treacherous miles of mountain roads within the Angeles National Forest outside of Los Angeles, California. Pastrana’s teammate Ken Block was the only other competitor to pressure Pastrana and finished in 2nd Overall. Pastrana and Block were both at the wheel of identical 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally cars.
The Rim of the World Rally is a non-championship event for Subaru Rally Team USA. The team decided to enter the event simply to gain experience on the grueling mountainside roads that make up the event. The team believes that some of these same roads, or similar style roads, will be used in this summer’s X Games Rally event, in which both Pastrana and Block are expected to compete.
Just two years ago, the 2004 Rim of the World Rally was Pastrana’s first gravel rally, where the newcomer astounded rally insiders with a 4th Overall finish. Its only fitting that he claims his first rally win back where he started things off. “This is a dream come true,” exclaimed Pastrana. “We lead right from the start and had to push to keep Ken (Block) behind us, so it was definitely hard fought, but its just such a great feeling to have my first rally win.” Pastrana was without regular co-driver Christian Edstrom, and instead sat with WRC veteran co-driver Jakke Honkanen.
Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino were the only squad able to match the pace of Pastrana, winning four of the thirteen competition stages, (with Pastrana winning the other nine), but they were unable to close up the early lead that their young teammate amassed. “We were never far off from Travis, and when I attacked midway through the rally Travis turned up his speed even more and kept us at bay,” explained Block. “We had a good time fighting it out and the cars were perfect.”
The conclusion of the Rim of The World Rally marks the end to a busy month on the west coast for Subaru Rally Team USA. The two-car Vermont based team competed in the Oregon Trail Rally, Round 3 of the Rally America National Championship, just last weekend, where Pastrana and Block finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively. The double podium result in Oregon helped Block remain atop the Overall standings in the Rally America National Championship, with Pastrana moving up to 3rd Overall. Round 4, the Pennsylvania based Susquehannock Trail Rally is June 3rd.
Subaru Rally Team USA is proudly supported by DC Shoes, STI (Subaru Tecnica International), SPT (Subaru Performance Tuning), PIAA, RECARO, MOTUL, Alpinestars and Vermont SportsCar.
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