October 24th, 2007
The Rally America National Champion will be crowned this weekend at the Lake Superior Performance Rally (LSPR) where a three-way battle between Subaru Rally Team USA drivers Travis Pastrana and Ken Block along with Subaru privateer Andrew Pinker is set to unfold. The LSPR, held entirely in northern Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is notorious for changeable weather conditions that typically include sun, rain and snow within a matter of hours. Pastrana and Block, each piloting a BFGoodrich Tires-shod 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car, will compete in the 2007 LSPR with the start scheduled this Friday afternoon, October 26th.
Entering the event, Pastrana and Block are tied for 2nd Overall on points in the hotly contested Rally America National Championship with Australian Andrew Pinker just four points ahead. However, as a result of the Rally America series point structure, which allows drivers to “drop” their two lowest finishes from their championship total, either Pastrana or Pinker can win the 2007 Rally America title with a victory at the season finale. If Block wins, Pastrana must finish third or worse for Block to claim the title. If none of the three championship contenders win at LSPR, Pinker must earn five points more than Pastrana in order to claim his first Rally America championship. If he fails to do so, Pastrana will become the first back-to-back champion in Rally America history.
Block and Pastrana both enjoy an advantage in having competed at LSPR before, finishing 1st and 3rd there, respectively, last year, whereas Pinker will be seeing the roads for the first time.
Following a win at the previous round, Rally Colorado in September, and a productive test session two weeks ago, Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino are eager for the chance to claim their first series title. “My confidence is very high right now,” said Block, who won the LSPR event last year. “It rained pretty hard during the test, so I was able to do some good set-up changes to get ready for the possible slippery situations in Michigan. The conditions change so much at that event, so it’s good to have these other setups ready.”
However, his teammate Travis Pastrana has no intentions of giving up his title as Rally America National Champion and needs to finish in 2nd Overall to ensure he retains that distinction . “LSPR is typically a challenging rally because it gets really slippery when it rains, and it always seems to do that! Also, most of the roads are narrow which makes being able to read the slippery patches of fallen leaves and the big water-covered potholes in the road extremely difficult, especially when you are pushing hard,” explains Pastrana. “It’s possible to gain lot of time by taking some chances, and it’s not difficult to make a mistake that will end your rally. This championship won’t be over until the final stage is complete!”
Fans can follow the championship battle at LSPR live on www.rally-america.com where live news updates and stage times will be updated throughout the weekend, beginning Friday afternoon. For end-of-day news and photo galleries visit Subaru Rally Team USA’s website at www.subaru.com/rally.
Subaru Rally Team USA is proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT), DC Shoes, BFGoodrich Tires, Boost Mobile, Recaro, Alpinestars, Motul, Exedy, PIAA and Vermont SportsCar.