April 22nd, 2007
Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block has moved into the lead of the 2007 Rally America National Championship standings after a 2nd overall finish at this weekend’s Oregon Trail Rally. Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino covered over 100 miles of rain soaked gravel logging roads west of Portland in their Monster Energy 2007 Subaru Impreza STI rally car, winning five of sixteen stages.
Round three on the Rally America’s schedule, Oregon Trail includes technical, tree lined gravel roads and highly variable weather which included rain, fog and then sunshine this weekend. But the biggest surprise was the high rate of attrition, with nearly half of field succumbing to either mechanical problems or crash damage. The rally was won by Australian and 2006 Oregon Trail winner Andrew Pinker, driving a Subaru Impreza WRX STI.
“We had the speed to win here, and were able to win stages and keep pace with the lead,” explained Block. “But we lost a ton of time to Pinker on one long stage midway through the rally and it forced us accept 2nd Overall. But it’s a great result for myself and team as we are now leading the championship!”
Block’s teammate, defending series champion Travis Pastrana and co-driver Christian Edstrom were forced to retire from the rally early with an engine problem. This was an entirely new experience for Pastrana, who in his fourth season of rallying with a Subaru had never retired from an event due to a mechanical issue. “My Subaru rally cars have been more reliable than me over the past three years, so this was a surprise. But it’s a long season and we can bounce back from this no problem,” said Pastrana.
Teams entered in the Rally America Championship are all battling for a chance to compete at this summer’s X Games in Los Angeles. It is expected that the top six drivers after the first five rounds will secure an invitation to the wildly popular ESPN contest.
Subaru Rally Team USA and Pastrana now head immediately to WRC Argentina, round five of the World Rally Championship, May 4-6th, where Pastrana will be tackling his 2nd Production World Rally Championship event.
Subaru Rally Team USA is proudly supported by Subaru of America, Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT), DC Shoes, BFGoodrich Tires, Boost Mobile, Recaro, Alpinestars, Motul, Exedy, PIAA and Vermont SportsCar.
Visit www.subaru.com/rally for Subaru Rally Team USA photo galleries, news and team information.