Travis Pastrana takes Olympus win, ACP holds series lead South Bend (April 18, 2009) --- Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana took his second win of the season at the Olympus Rally on Sunday, after a fierce Day 2 battle with Andrew ...
Travis Pastrana takes Olympus win, ACP holds series lead
South Bend (April 18, 2009) --- Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana took his second win of the season at the Olympus Rally on Sunday, after a fierce Day 2 battle with Andrew "ACP" Comrie-Picard.
"It was awesome -- we tied to the 10th of a second on the first stage of the last leg," said Pastrana the finish. "The competition was amazing."
Pastrana and co-driver Christian Edstrom hauled into the lead at the Olympus Rally early Sunday, after their Subaru teammate Ken Block suffered a turbo problem and dropped off the pace.
NOS Energy's Andrew "ACP" Comrie-Picard and co-driver Robbie Durant finished in second place overall, unable to make up time to the Subaru crew in the final stages while fighting an ailing transmission.
"We lost third and fourth gear in the last two stages today, and had to hold it in fifth," said Comrie-Picard late Sunday. "But this finish means we're still in the championship lead, and we're happy."
Comrie-Picard and Pastrana traded times all weekend, entering Day 2 one-two, separated by only two seconds.
In third place was the Rockstar Energy Team of Tanner Foust and co-driver Chrissie Beavis, who had been in the hunt for the lead early on but suffered trouble with their transmission late Saturday that put them at a disadvantage.
After overnight repairs, Foust and Beavis were forced to start Sunday's stages with a replacement synchromesh transmission and they spent the day fighting to stay on the pace. It's the duo's second run in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.
"It was pretty good out there," said Foust. "We were battling on the first day and putting good time on Travis until we had our problem -- it's a promising thing for the car."
Top Open class cars use a dog-engagement gearbox that allows the drivers to shift without using the clutch -- saving them time on every corner. Teams say it's worth a second per mile and while Foust's technical skills meant he put up an able fight, he was unable to catch the leaders.
The result means Comrie-Picard holds onto the championship lead with 48 points, followed by Pastrana and Foust, who are tied for second with 45 points apiece.
In fourth place were Polish ace Andi Mancin and co-driver Maciej Wislawski, followed by Super Production class winner Pitor Wiktorczyk and co-driver Grzegorz Dorman in fifth.
Young driver Dillon Van Way and Joshua Knott took top honors in the two-wheel drive class in their 2002 Ford Focus
Wiktorczyk and Dorman had been battling with Matt Johnson and co-driver Jeremy Wimpey for the Super Production class lead on Day 1, but brake failure for the latter duo took them out of contention.
Subaru Rally Team USA's newest member, Dave Mirra, and co-driver Derek Ringer were reported out of the rally late on Day 2. Mirra had said he was struggling to adjust to his new Subaru WRX STi.
Drivers smashed the stage record on the Brooklyn Stage on Sunday, with Pastrana, Foust and Comrie-Picard all wiping out Carl Jardevall's top time of 6:33, set in 2004. After Sunday's run, the new record holder is Pastrana, with a time of 6:27.9.
Subaru's Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino suffered a turbo failure early Sunday and dropped out of podium contention. Team mechanics were able to repair the trouble, but they withdrew from the contest after further mechanical problems.
Weather in the region is notoriously unpredictable at this time of year, but the rally was clear and dry throughout. Teams lined up in Aberdeen, Washington, for the opening Parc Expose under sunny skies Saturday morning and, after a sprinkle of rain overnight, the sunshine continued until the Sunday finish.
The storied Olympus Rally is relatively new to the Rally America calendar, having returned to the national series in 2007. But the event has a lengthy history.
It was first run as a national event in 1973 and was a favorite stop on World Rally Championship calendar from 1986 to 1988. Rally racing legends including Rod Millen, Juha Kankkunen and American John Buffum are among those who have claimed victories at the famed contest.
Rally car racing is considered the extreme sport of automobile racing and is often described simply as "real cars, real roads, real fast." This all-season motorsport sees drivers and their co-drivers take modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over courses that cover more than 100 miles of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads.
Top teams in the series are also invited to compete in the Summer X Games, the leading action sports event broadcast live on ABC and ESPN. Eight top teams have already been invited to this August's contest. Among the marques typically represented in Rally America events are Subaru, Mitsubishi, Dodge, Ford and Volkswagen.