August 5th, 2006
The first ever X Games Rally has ended in spectacular fashion with Travis Pastrana edging out WRC legend and Subaru teammate Colin McRae to win Gold at the wheel of his BFGoodrich Tires shod Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car. But it was Colin McRae who stole the show after he rolled his Sobe No Fear Subaru on the final jump of the course, landed on his wheels and drove to the finish for the Silver Medal. Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block, and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino, netted 3rd and the Bronze Medal. The event was broadcast live on ABC and thrilled thousands of new fans at The Home Depot Center in Los Angeles. It was a clean sweep for Subaru and Vermont SportsCar as all three cars on the podium were Vermont SportsCar prepared Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally cars.
The twelve invited rally drivers first competed Wednesday on eight gravel stages north of Los Angeles, where Pastrana, with co-driver Christian Edstrom and McRae with long time co-driver Nicky Grist ran away from the rest of the field and finished under a second apart after nearly forty miles of stages. Meanwhile, Ken Block narrowly held onto 3rd Overall position. Along with McRae, Pastrana and Block, Subaru Rally Team USA also supported stunt driver, drifter and 2005 Rally America PGT National Champion Tanner Foust. Foust battled Block for 3rd Overall early on but the young driver’s hopes at a medal were dashed when he and his co-driver Scott Crouch were forced to stop and change out a flat tire, losing nearly four minutes.
The special stages on Wednesday helped setup an epic showdown at the Home Depot Center where the Pastrana versus McRae duel would unfold on the dirt and tarmac course that twisted and jumped its way in and around the stadium.
Pastrana’s quest for the Gold Medal at the inaugural X Games Rally came less than 24 hours after he made history with a death defying double backflip in the X Game’s “Freestyle Moto-X Best Trick” competition the night before. But it was Colin McRae that did the flipping at the X Games Rally. McRae, the 1995 World Rally Champion looked to have the Gold medal in his grasp as he narrowly led Pastrana on split times near the finish of the stadium stage finale. Flying into the stadium towards the finish line, McRae’s hopes for victory were dashed when he rolled his car after landing sideways off a jump. Much to the delight of the thousands of fans in attendance McRae’s Subaru Impreza WRX STI landed on its wheels and he and co-driver Nicky Grist sped off to the finish line. Amazingly, McRae only lost to Pastrana by .52 seconds!
“It is an honor and a dream come true just to compete against Colin McRae,” explained a jubilant Pastrana. “This was a great day for rallying in North America and I hope the fans enjoyed it, because we certainly did!”
“Travis rode well. Everybody asked if we were hanging back to keep it close, but that wasn’t the case,” explained McRae. “We were pushing as hard as possible. But he drove a great event. It takes a talented guy to do what he’s doing this week.”
The huge crowd on hand at the X Games was enthralled, it was a storybook ending to an event that will greatly boost rallying’s popularity in North America. “You couldn’t have asked for a better ending,” said Bronze medalist Ken Block. “Even our battle for 3rd was hard fought to the very end, it’s an amazing feeling for our team to occupy all three podium spots.”
Subaru Rally Team USA is proudly supported by DC Shoes, BFGoodrich Tires, STI (Subaru Tecnica International), SPT (Subaru Performance Tuning), Alpinestars, Motul, PIAA, Recaro, Meguiars and Vermont SportsCar