August 27th, 2006
Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana has won his first ever Rally America National Championship event, at the Ojibwe Forests Rally in Northern Minnesota. The 22-year-old Pastrana along with his co-driver Christian Edstrom led the Ojibwe Forests Rally early on and pulled away from the competition on day two to win by a comfortable margin of well over one minute. Pastrana and his BFGoodrich Tires shod 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car now have a commanding lead in the Rally America National Championship with just three rounds remaining.
Pastrana was cool and composed on the flowing yet technical gravel roads of the Ojibwe Forests Rally, based in and around the scenic Northern Minnesota town of Bemidji. After ending day one of the rally with a slim lead over 2nd place, Pastrana pulled away convincingly on day two, winning all but one of the day’s nine stages.
“We had a perfect rally, we didn’t put a wheel wrong all weekend and our Subaru performed amazingly, with no problems at all,” exclaimed a champagne soaked Pastrana at the podium. “These roads were so much fun and after finishing some of the stages I just wanted to keep going and going. Its a great feeling to get my first victory in the Rally America Championship!” This win marked the first National level rally win for Pastrana’s co-driver Christian Edstrom. “This means a whole lot to me, we really both enjoyed this weekend,” said Edstrom. “To get my first win sitting with Travis and as a part of this great team that Subaru has assembled is really something special.”
Subaru Rally Team USA’s second car of Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino led the rally briefly on Friday before impacting a tree head-on and retiring from the event. Both Block and Gelsomino were unharmed and were more confused than anything with regard to how their accident happened. While sliding through a sharp yet benign left turn, the rear of Block’s Subaru hit a very soft section of the road which caused his car to suddenly snap to the right and off the road. The pair hit a tree in a blink of an eye and their rally was over.
Pastrana now extends his lead in the 2006 Rally America National Championship Standings, with teammate Block dropping one spot to third overall. The team will head next to the high speed and high altitude roads of the Colorado Cog Rally, based in Steamboat Springs, September 22-24. Log onto www.rally.subaru.com for further team news and photo galleries.
**Special note: Pastrana will talk about his recent triumph at the X Games in Rally and Freestyle Motocross on the Late Show with David Letterman this Monday, August 28.
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.