October 21st, 2006
Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino have won the Lake Superior Performance Rally (LSPR), the penultimate round of the 2006 Rally America National Championship. But the celebrations had already commenced yesterday when their teammate Travis Pastrana mathematically secured the overall driver’s title after his chief rival crashed out of the rally early. Pastrana, at only 23 years-old and in only his 2nd season of rallying, becomes the youngest ever American rally champion.
Pastrana and his co-driver Christian Edstrom have dominated rallying in the USA this year driving their BFGoodrich Tire’s shod 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI prepared by Vermont SportsCar. He has earned three victories, four 2nd place finishes and a Gold medal at the inaugural X Games Rally event where he narrowly beat out his hero and WRC legend Colin McRae.
“It is just awesome to win the championship against such great drivers here in the Rally America Championship, we had some great battles this year and it’s been a real challenge at every round,” exclaimed Pastrana at the podium ceremony. “Rally is my future and this gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”
Pastrana had led most of the rally but was caught by a hard charging Ken Block and Tim O’Neil, a veteran driver and rally school instructor. Both Block and Pastrana have been tutored by O’Neil and enjoyed competing against their teacher on LSPR’s muddy and technical roads.
“We wanted to win here and we pushed really hard all day to do it,” said Block. “I knew Travis wouldn’t push as hard as we were because he had the championship locked up yesterday and had no reason to take risks.” With the victory at LSPR Block is now just one point shy of second place overall in the driver standings heading into the final round, the Wild West Rally based in Olympia, Washington.
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.