March 8th, 2007
Subaru Rally Team USA drivers Travis Pastrana and Ken Block are set to make their World Rally Championship debut this weekend at the Corona Rally Mexico, round three of the World Rally Championship. For Pastrana, the 2006 Rally America National Champion, the event marks an important milestone in his burgeoning rally career, after becoming one of he most successful Freestyle Motocross riders ever and now transition to rallying. The two leading American drivers will each pilot a BFGoodrich tire shod Group N specification 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car on the dusty, high altitude roads of Mexico.
Over the last three years Pastrana has made the transition from motocross star to rally driver. Last year, in only his 2nd season of rallying he became the youngest ever American rally champion at only 23 years old. This weekend’s Corona Rally Mexico marks the start of the next challenge for Pastrana; to successfully compete in the World Rally Championship. Pastrana and his co-driver Christian Edstrom will compete in three WRC events in 2007 (Mexico, Argentina, Great Britain) and then contest the full Production Car World Rally Championship, an eight round sub-championship within the WRC for Group N specification cars, in 2008 and 2009.
It will be a steep learning curve for the two Subaru drivers, as they grapple with some fundamental differences between the World Rally Championship and the Rally America Championship. The biggest difference being that on WRC events the drivers and co-drivers perform reconnaissance of the stage roads, writing their own stage notes with their co-drivers. Whereas on Rally America events the drivers are handed organizer supplied stage notes, and do not perform any reconnaissance. Experience with creating your own notes, and being able to drive with confidence with those notes is essential to achieving competitive stage times on the World Rally Championship. “We need the experience and that is why we are here,” explained Pastrana. “We are not here to try and win or go flat out and risk everything, we need to finish. It’s a steep learning curve but we are enjoying the challenge.”
The action kicks off Friday morning, with three consecutive days of rallying hrough Sunday afternoon. Subaru Rally Team USA has extensive event updates and photo galleries at www.rally.subaru.com including a daily photo blog from Ken Block. Fans can follow the rally live at www.wrc.com where they can also find blog entries from Pastrana as well.
Subaru Rally Team USA is proudly supported by Subaru of America, DC Shoes, BFGoodrich Tires, STI (Subaru Tecnica International), SPT (Subaru Performance Tuning), Alpinestars, Motul, PIAA, Recaro, Exedy and Vermont SportsCar.