August 4th, 2007
Subaru Rally Team USA drivers Travis Pastrana and Ken Block will battle for the Gold medal at the second-ever Rally event this weekend at X Games 13 in Los Angeles. The dueling teammates will drive their BFGoodrich Tires-shod Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally cars on a head-to-head course incorporating a combination of tarmac and dirt at the Home Depot Center stadium. But they will have stiff competition from former World Rally Champion Colin McRae and NASCAR ace Boris Said, both piloting identically-prepared Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally cars by Vermont SportsCar, as guest drivers of Subaru Rally Team USA and sponsored by Subaru.
ESPN’s X Games 13, the annual action sports extravaganza which has vaulted a variety of sports to the mainstream, kicked off this week with Freestyle Motocross, Skateboarding and BMX competitions. The twelve invited rally car teams meanwhile have had short practice stints on only the tarmac portions of the stadium course. A full course practice, which will include dirt sections on the stadium floor as well as a large cross-over gap jump will not take place until Sunday morning, just hours prior to the 1:30pm PST start with Live coverage on ABC television.
Pastrana has opted to sit out of the Freestyle Motocross events this year after landing the first-ever double back-flip and winning Gold medals in Best Trick and Freestyle MX last year. The 23 year-old 2006 Rally America National Champion is completing his career switch from two wheels to four and is steadily decreasing the number of Freestly MX events he enters. “Winning the Gold last year over my hero Colin McRae was something I’ll never forget, but he is back this year, and I know he wants revenge,” explained Pastrana. “If he doesn’t make any mistakes he’ll be hard to beat, but I’m here to defend my Gold and I’m 100% focused on this event.”
Block, along with his co-driver Alex Gelsomino are eager to spoil the Pastrana/McRae show.. “I’ve got confidence after winning the Bronze last year, and I really feel my driving has improved and developed since last year, so I know I can challenge both Travis and Colin for the Gold this time around,” said Block. “Being here is amazing, and the buzz that the event generates is huge for the sport.”
The dark horse of the event has to be NASCAR driver Boris Said driving the BFGoodrich Tires sponsored Subaru Impreza WRX STI. Said earned his X Games bid via an “at large” invitation due to his numerous racing accomplishments, which include winning the 1997 and 1998 24 Hours of Daytona and the 1991 12 Hours of Sebring. In 2002 Said won the fiercely fought SCCA Trans-Am Championship and in 2005, he became the first American to win the prestigious 24 Hours of Nurburgring in Germany. He also has four American Le Mans Series and several SPEED World Challenge wins to his credit. Said has also performed well in various NASCAR disciplines having competed and captured the pole in all three NASCAR series: Craftsman Truck, BUSCH and Nextel Cup, including a Truck series win in 1998 at Infineon Sears Point Raceway.
“I’ve been watching rally my whole life, and I think it’s one of the most exciting sports in the world,” explained Said. “I’m really excited to see the track and even more excited to see the 70-foot jump I’ve been told about. My only regret is that I’ll be doing the NASCAR Busch race in Montreal on Saturday and will miss practice, but I guess that’s why rally has the bravest co-drivers. I can’t wait to get there and race.” Said will be co-driven by John Buffum, the most successful American rally driver in history. Buffum currently works as Subaru Rally Team USA’s Sporting Adviser, mentoring Pastrana and Block.
Colin McRae, the fourth driver in the Subaru stable will have the attention of all the live ABC cameras after spectacularly rolling his Subaru near the finish line last year, handing Pastrana the Gold by a mere half a second. “I am truly excited about coming back to the X Games again and looking forward to producing another 1-2 result for the Vermont SportsCar / Subaru Rally Team USA squad but of course this time with the drivers in the reverse order to that in which they finished last year! I will try and provide as much entertainment for the fans as in 2006, while hopefully remaining the right way up this time!”
“To have Boris join our team along with Colin is certain to make X Games 13 Rally an exciting ticket to watch,” said Subaru representative, James Han.” We’re pleased to have Subaru Rally Team USA teammates Travis and Ken competing with such illustrious and competitive drivers, each in Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally cars.”
Coverage of the X Games 13 Rally Car Racing Super Special will air Live on ABC from 3:00 PM-6:00 PM EST.
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.