NAmer: Subaru Rally Team USA SnoDrift day one summary

Subaru Rally Team USA Slide Into 1st and 2nd Overall after Day 1 of SnoDrift Rally Subaru Rally Team USA made an impressive debut today at Day 1 of the SnoDrift Rally, round one of the 2006 Rally America National Championship. Team drivers Ken...

Subaru Rally Team USA Slide Into 1st and 2nd Overall after Day 1 of SnoDrift Rally

Subaru Rally Team USA made an impressive debut today at Day 1 of the SnoDrift Rally, round one of the 2006 Rally America National Championship. Team drivers Ken Block and Travis Pastrana took their 2006 Subaru WRX STI rally cars to 1st and 2nd Overall respectively on the icy backroads of north-central Michigan. The rally concludes on Saturday with an 90 additional miles.

Temperatures on Friday were unseasonably warm, making the road conditions extremely variable. Wet snow, soft ice and slush greeted over fifty rally car entries and instantly caused problems for many. One top competitor crashed heavily on the first turn of the first stage after hitting a patch of ice. Without the aid of studded ice tires, which the rules forbid, the SnoDrift Rally poses a unique and difficult challenge for even the best drivers.

Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block, co-driven by Alex Gelsomino, leaped into the lead after the first four icy stages amassing a nearly 30 second advantage on his teammate Travis Pastrana. But a flat tire and increasingly icy conditions on the following three stages slowed Block and enabled Pastrana to claw back to within seven seconds at the conclusion of the day. "I'm just glad to get through this first day in one piece, we started off smooth and conservative but the second half of the day was very difficult, the flat tire cost me some time, but I made a few mistakes on the increasingly slick roads," said Block. "It feels great to be leading the rally for Subaru Rally Team USA, but we have a real challenge ahead of us, the bulk of the rally is tomorrow and I've got Pastrana on my heels."

Block's teammate, the 22 year-old X-Games star Travis Pastrana felt he had a poor start to the rally even though he sat in 2nd Overall after the opening stages. "I was really careful and slow at first but it also seemed like I was not listening to my co-driver's (Christian Edstrom) notes enough, I was driving too much off what I saw and not enough off what I heard," explained the fan favorite Pastrana, who was swamped by fans at the service area. "But on the second set of stages we got into a good rhythm and things clicked again for us, I'm still driving on the conservative side though, as there are many miles to go still!"

The action picks up Saturday morning at 9am with the teams rallying well into the early evening. Log onto www.rally.subaru.com for further event updates and photos and visit www.Rally-America.com for live news and results throughout the day.

-www.rally.subaru.com

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Alex Gelsomino , Travis Pastrana , Ken Block