Travis Pastrana On The Rally Podium Again

Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana and co-driver Christian Edstrom have finished 2nd Overall on the damp high speed gravel roads of the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR). The 21 year old X Games star battled one of the strongest fields of rally drivers ever assembled at a North American event, while struggling to overcome severe illness which had him in the emergency room just hours prior to the rally start. The strong result vaults Pastrana into a tie at the top of the season standings of the Rally America National Championship, with four of nine rounds completed. Subaru Rally Team USA continues to prove the merits of the 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI, with this being the 5th event in a row that they have placed at least one car in the top two spots of the podium. Pastrana is fresh off his first performance rally victory last month in California.

The high-speed classic known as STPR takes place in north central Pennsylvania on smooth, flowing gravel and clay-based roads. This is the fastest rally in North America, taking drivers at breakneck speeds through lush green forests that grow precipitously close to the road edges. The 30th running of STPR was recently nominated as a qualifying round for the first ever X Games Rally, to be held this summer at X Games 12 in Los Angeles.

With the top two finishers of the rally earning an invite to compete in the X Games Rally, many of North America’s best rally drivers entered in the hopes of earning a spot in the X Games. The field was one of the strongest and deepest in not only the event’s history, but possibly the sport’s North American history as well. But both Travis Pastrana, and his Subaru Rally Team USA teammate Ken Block had no need to get caught up in the fight for the X Games, they have both alreadybeen officially invited to compete at the event.

Pastrana fought through severe illness, which had him feeling fatigued all day and pulled away from the rest of the field with fellow X Game Rally invitee Matt Iorio. But a flat tire on the later stages spoiled any chance at victory for Pastrana, and he happily settled for 2nd Overall. “We wanted to sit back and let all the other guys fight it out, but we had the speed early on and just kept up a nice pace,” explained Pastrana. “I’ve been very sick the past few days, plus this rally had such an amazing group of fast and accomplished drivers entered, so I feel a great sense of accomplishment with my 2nd Overall finish.”

Pastrana’s teammate, Ken Block, set a blistering pace early on in the rally, winning two stages outright. But the slick conditions caught Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino out midway through the rally and they were forced to retire from the event after rolling their car. Both walked away unharmed from the incident.

Pastrana moves up the standings into a tie for First Overall in the 2006 Rally America National Championship. Subaru Rally Team USA will warm up for the X Games Rally on the rocky logging roads of the Maine Forest Rally, July 21-22.

Subaru Rally Team USA is proudly supported by DC Shoes, STI (Subaru Tecnica International), SPT (Subaru Performance Tuning), Alpinestars, Motul, PIAA, Recaro, Meguiars and Vermont SportsCar.

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Photography: Lars Gange -