Travis Pastrana takes Oregon Trail win, championship lead Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana took the win this weekend at the Oregon Trail Rally, and moved into the championship lead. "It was an amazing rally," said Pastrana. "That's...
Travis Pastrana takes Oregon Trail win, championship lead
Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana took the win this weekend at the Oregon Trail Rally, and moved into the championship lead.
"It was an amazing rally," said Pastrana. "That's three wins and a tree this season -- not so bad."
The defending champion and co-driver Christian Edstrom set a blazing pace to pull into the lead early on Day 2, and held it there to the finish. It's the third win in four starts for the duo in their Subaru WRX STi.
Second place went to Rockstar Energy's Tanner Foust and co-driver Chrissie Beavis. The team put in a consistent drive all weekend and were cruising to their second-place finish when they spun out on the final stage and struck a rock with their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X -- almost costing them a position. They managed to hold on, finishing just 3.6 seconds ahead of the Polish team of Andi Mancin and co-driver Maciej Wislawski.
"It was a pretty clean rally the whole way," said Foust. "Subarus are known for being really tough and I think our Evo X has proven tough this weekend, too. She brought us all the way home after we hit the rock and we're pretty pleased to get second."
It was the first U.S. podium for Mancin and Wislawski, who have proven at this event that they can match the pace of Rally America's top drivers. Mancin said late Sunday that racing with the Jemba system of notes -- as is typical in this championship -- is something that has taken some getting used to. This is the first full season in the series for the Polish duo, who are accustomed to making their own pace notes from scratch.
"I'm very happy, it's a very significant result for our team," said Mancin, who pilots a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. "These were very difficult stages -- but they were beautiful."
A flat tire on Day 2 cost the NOS Energy crew of Andrew Comrie-Picard and co-driver Robbie Durant a minute to the leaders, and they finished in fourth place in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, just 2.8 seconds behind Mancin. It was a disappointment for Picard, who had battled hard to regain the podium. The finish drops him from first to third in the championship standings, behind Pastrana and second-place Foust.
"That flat tire yesterday was really tough to overcome and the times were incredibly close the end," said Comrie-Picard. "We had been clawing back time since yesterday but I have to hand it to Andi -- he drove a great race."
Rounding out the top five were Arkadiusz Gruszka and co-driver Lukasz Wronski.
Subaru Rally Team USA's Dave Mirra and co-driver Derek Ringer took the win in the competitive Super Production class and finished sixth overall. Heavy attrition in the Super Production class this weekend saw Matt Johnson and Piotr Wiktorcszyk retire early and Mirra said all he had to do was hang on and keep it clean.
"A lot of it is just trying to find a pace," said Mirra. "It's great to be in this class with so many competitive drivers."
Young Dillon Van Way and co-driver Benjamin Slocum scored another win in the two-wheel drive class. This is Van Way's first season of competition and he's proven a reliable finisher in his Ford Focus.
All results are considered informational pending official race administrative processes.
Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino found themselves also out of the contest early after yet another bout of bad luck at this event. A flat tire and damage to a control arm meant their rally ended on Day 2. The poor finish makes three DNFs in four starts for Block. He and Gelsomino returned to the action Sunday for a fun run at the regional contest and even though they didn't score points, they set some of the fastest times of the day.
"It's getting a little frustrating," said Block. "I have the speed, I feel, to win every single one of these-- I thought I had some bad luck last year and it's getting worse this year."
Teams at this event are also competing for a shot at X Games gold this summer. With six drivers already invited, there are four spots open to top-scoring competitors after the first five rounds of the series. Pastrana, Block, Comrie-Picard, Foust, Mirra and Johnson are expected to return to the Los Angeles event. Mancin, Wiktorcszyk are among the top contenders for the remaining positions.
Rally America will also extend X Games invitations to two additional so-called "at-large" drivers, who have not yet been named.
The Oregon Trail Rally took place over 100 miles of competition on a course that includes a mix of twisty, hard-packed forest conditions and wide-open farming roads. The Mount Hood area's hilly terrain meant plenty of elevation changes throughout the contest. The conditions were sunny and bright, making for dry and dusty roads and a visibility challenge for teams.
Many fans took advantage of the beautiful weather this weekend, turning out by the hundreds to take in the action at the Portland International Raceway, and the Mount Hood spectator areas.
Rally activities began on Thursday with a kick-off car show in downtown Portland. Key series players and their cars made an appearance Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square for a midday display where fans had the opportunity to meet with their favorite drivers and check out their race machines. The action continued at the Portland International Raceway on Friday evening, with a short super special stage that used sections of both the tarmac and motocross tracks and drew an estimated 1,500 fans.
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.
The 2009 Rally America National Championship series consists of nine exciting events throughout the country in many different weather and road conditions. The championship moves east to Pennsylvania for Round 5, the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally in Wellsboro on June 5 and 6.
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. Among the marques typically represented in Rally America events are Subaru, Mitsubishi, Dodge, Ford and Volkswagen.