Subaru Rally Team USA Dominates Olympus Rally with 1-2 Finish (April 20, 2008) Subaru Rally Team USA dominated this weekend's Olympus Rally, in eastern Washington with drivers Ken Block and Travis Pastrana scoring an impressive 1-2 finish. Rally...
Subaru Rally Team USA Dominates Olympus Rally with 1-2 Finish
(April 20, 2008) Subaru Rally Team USA dominated this weekend's Olympus Rally, in eastern Washington with drivers Ken Block and Travis Pastrana scoring an impressive 1-2 finish. Rally winner Ken Block, at the wheel of his BFGoodrich Tires-shod 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI led from the start of the rally and was the class of the field, winning or tying 12 of the 16 total stages. Block's teammate, two-time defending Rally America National Champion Travis Pastrana finished just twenty four seconds behind in second overall. This is the second 1-2 finish in a row for Subaru Rally Team USA, and Block now has a commanding lead in the championship, with Pastrana moving up to fourth with 6 rounds remaining in the Rally America National Championship series.
The Olympus Rally, round three of the 2008 Rally America National Championship has traditionally been held near Seattle, Washington, on technical forest logging roads. But the event's roads recently sustained storm damage and the rally organizers scrambled to find an alternative venue. The solution was a move to the high speed, wide-open gravel roads of Pomeroy, Washington, over 270 miles east of Seattle.
Block has proven himself a dominant force on high-speed roads like those in Pomeroy and he and co-driver Alex Gelsomino continued that trend from the start of the Olympus Rally by grabbing the lead on the opening stage and never looking back. "The speeds here were amazing," said Block. "We hit 135mph on one stage and later had some drama on another when we drove on the rim at over 120mph after losing a tire due to a puncture!" This is Block's third successive rally victory after winning The 100 Acre Wood Rally (Round 2), and Rally New York, an all tarmac, non-championship event. "This is a great way to start the season, and it gives me a lot of confidence going forward." explained Block at the podium.
Running first on the road, Pastrana and his co-driver Derek Ringer were slowed as they were forced to contend with sweeping the loose gravel roads clean for the drivers behind them after starting the rally first car on the road. "The roads all had a lot of loose gravel on the surface so being first on the road was difficult," said Pastrana. "We were just trying our best to keep within reach of Ken [Block], but he was just flying. On day two, with better road position, we started to win stages and claw back some time but there just were not enough miles left to catch him. But the points here help our championship hopes, we are back in it."
Subaru Rally Team USA will remain on the west coast for the next round,the Oregon Trail Rally, May 16-18th, 2008, in Hillsboro, Oregon.