June 8th, 2009
Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block earned his second Rally America victory of 2009 with a dominating win at the 2009 Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR). Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino were untouchable in their 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX STI, leading from the very first stage and going on to win eight of thirteen competition stages at STPR, round five of the 2009 Rally America National Championship. Block’s Subaru teammate and defending three-time Rally America National Champion Travis Pastrana with co-driver Christian Edstrom made it a 1-2 finish for Subaru Rally Team USA by placing 2nd Overall. Dave Mirra and co-driver Derek Ringer, in Subaru Rally Team USA’s Super Production Class Subaru STI hit a large rock while battling for the class lead and were forced to retire from the event.
The win at STPR is sweet redemption for Ken Block who has experienced hard luck early in the 2009 Rally America season and at past STPR events. The two-day STPR takes place on high-speed, tree lined roads in northern Pennsylvania. “I’ve rolled here, and I DNF’d last year; the year before that I crashed in shakedown and then only made it a stage and a half,” explained Block. “So, to win here with a good clean run is really satisfying. I’ve also had rough luck this season, not finishing three rallies. The win here really helps.”
Block set a blistering pace early at STPR, taking the lead on the first stage and never looking back. After winning all three of Day One’s stages Block had accumulated an impressive one-minute lead. Block could have afforded to throttle back on Day Two but he continued his rapid pace winning five of ten stages to take victory over Travis Pastrana by one minute and twelve seconds. “I’m always pushing myself and always trying to become a better driver so we didn’t really slow down on the second day. Everything was going well and my Subaru was performing flawlessly, so we just kept the pace up and drove smart,” explained Block. “This is such a tough event with really fast roads; you can’t afford to make any mistakes, and winning here means a lot.”
Block’s teammate Travis Pastrana may have been able to challenge Block for the win but a broken right front suspension on only the second stage of the rally cost Pastrana nearly a minute of lost time. Pastrana quickly fought his way from third to second overall and pulled away steadily throughout Day Two to secure a second overall finish. “The goal was to win if you can but podium for sure so we can extend our points lead in the championship,” said Pastrana.
The third Subaru Rally Team USA entry of driver Dave Mirra and co-driver Derek Ringer were gunning for a Super Production class victory in their 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX STI. The new Super Production (SP) class, a new category for 2009 that features minimally modified, production-based cars has showcased close battles at each rally thus far and STPR was no different. While battling for the class lead midway through the rally Mirra hit a large rock that damaged both left wheels of his Subaru, knocking him out the event. “It was like getting kicked out of a really good party early,” said Mirra. “We just hit a massive embedded rock on the inside of a turn and both left wheels were damaged.”
Vermont-based Subaru Rally Team USA stays close to home for round six, the New England Forest Rally (July 17-18), held on the dusty gravel logging roads along the Maine/New Hampshire border. Visit subaru.com/rally for all the latest team news and photos and follow the team on Twitter at twitter.com/srtusa. Subaru Rally Team USA is proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT), DC Shoes, BFGoodrich Tires, RECARO, Alpinestars, Motul, Exedy, GReddy, and Vermont SportsCar.