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Pastrana Warms Up For X Games Rally With A Podium Finish in Maine

Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana has finished 2nd Overall on the rough and rocky logging roads of the Maine Forest Rally, Round 5 of the 2006 Rally America National Championship. The 22-year-old 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI driver faced stiff competition from several drivers in the hunt for the final two X Games Rally invites, but was able to stay consistent and trouble free all weekend. The strong finish catapults Pastrana well in to the lead of the Overall standings of the hotly contested 2006 Rally America National Championship. Pastrana will headline the first ever X Games Rally at ESPN’s X Games 12 in Los Angeles August 2nd through 5th.

The Maine Forest rally is known as a car breaker, with dust and soccer ball sized rocks waiting around every corner. The route includes many gravel logging roads that snake their way through western Maine. The Maine Forest Rally serves as the final X Games Qualifying round, where the top two finishers, who do not already have invites, will each earn an invitation to the X Games Rally.

After winning the opening stage, Pastrana and his co-driver Christian Edstrom settled into a conservative and careful pace. With an invite to the X Games Rally already in hand, Pastrana could afford to sit back and let the other drivers fight it out in front of him. “We were not quite on the pace early on, as the other guys were really pushing hard to earn those last two invites,” explained Pastrana. “So I turned down my speed to maybe 85%, where
I could safely hang just a bit behind the leaders and simply wait for them to make mistakes.”  After running in 5th Overall position for most of the rally, Pastrana’s strategy soon paid off when several cars ahead of him faced problems of their own and lost time, helping move Pastrana up to 2nd Overall and his 4th podium from five Rally America events this

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Pastrana’s teammate and fellow Subaru Impreza WRX STI driver Ken Block became one of the many drivers who found out first hand how destructive the Maine Forest Rally roads can be. While sitting in 2nd place Overall, just
seconds off the lead, Block hit a log on the inside of a turn which pulled his car sharply inward making contact with a large rock. The impact destroyed the front left corner of his car, all but knocking off the front
left wheel. Amazingly Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino were able to limp their car three miles out of the stage and down over 19 miles of public transit road back to the service area where his team of mechanics was able
to make the car 100% again. “It was totally a WRC moment for me, something you see on TV, limping the car back to service Alex even had to lean out the rear passenger door to counter weight the car off the scraping front left
corner,” said Block. “It was an amazing thing to be able to continue in the rally after that!” The time lost on the stage was an insurmountable 10 minutes, but Block was able to charge from 34th position back up to 12th Overall.

Subaru Rally Team USA now heads west to Los Angeles for ESPN’s X Games 12 and the first ever X Games Rally. Block and Pastrana will be joined by WRC legend Colin McRae and 2005 Rally America PGT Champion Tanner Foust. Theaction kicks off Live on ABC August 5th at 3pm EST. The event will include traditional special stages on August 2nd and a mixed surface Stadium Special Stage at the Home Depot Center, Los Angeles on August 5th.  Visit www.rally.subaru.com for more information.

Subaru Rally Team USA is proudly supported by DC Shoes, STI (Subaru Tecnica International), SPT (Subaru Performance Tuning), Alpinestars, Motul, PIAA, Recaro, Meguiars and Vermont SportsCar.





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Photography: Lars Gange - rally.subaru.com