RAmer: Ojibwe Forests summary

Ojibwe victory for Travis Pastrana BEMIDJI, Minn. (August 27, 2006) - Motocross superstar Travis Pastrana scored his first-ever Rally America win at the Ojibwe Forests Rally this weekend in northern Minnesota. The victory comes just weeks...

Ojibwe victory for Travis Pastrana

BEMIDJI, Minn. (August 27, 2006) - Motocross superstar Travis Pastrana scored his first-ever Rally America win at the Ojibwe Forests Rally this weekend in northern Minnesota.

The victory comes just weeks after he and co-driver Christian Edstrom bested World Rally Championship veterans Colin McRae and co-driver Nicky Grist to take home the gold medal at the X Games Rally in Los Angeles.

The Subaru Rally Team USA duo is now firmly in first place in the championship standings.

The team built an early lead over challengers Matt Iorio and co-driver Ole Holter, but truly secured the victory during longest stage late on Day 2. Pastrana opened the gap to Iorio by 40 seconds on the 22-mile stage said it went so well that he was sorry to hit the finish line.

"You know when you have a good stage and you just want to keep going?" Pastrana said. "That's how it was."

Pastrana is the sixth driver to win in six races this season.

Second place was a frustration to Iorio, who had said he felt the top spot on the podium had been within his reach. He said even though he drove well, it just wasn't enough for the win.

"It's hard to figure out where there's room for improvement," said Iorio. "But there's always room for it."

Matthew Johnson rounded out the podium in his Production GT Subaru -- his highest-ever overall finish. He had been battling for a class win with rival Tanner Foust all day, but Foust struck a rock that cost him more than 15 minutes on the crucial longest stage of the day and vaulted Johnson onto the podium.

Johnson, who crossed the finish line more than seven minutes behind Iorio, was uncharacteristically subdued about his result. He said his first-ever podium result was a matter of luck.

"It's a rally: sometimes you're the guy on the side of the road, and sometimes you're the guy that benefits," he said late Saturday.

Italian driver Alfredo De Dominicis, who had appeared set to take third-place, retired early with apparent mechanical trouble.

Although widely expected to be a contender for the overall win at this rally, Pastrana's Subaru Rally Team USA teammate Ken Block crashed hard early in the first day and was out of the race.

Struggling for traction on the sandy surface, Block slid off the road and struck a tree head-on. Both he and co-driver Alex Gelsomino were unhurt, but the impact crumpled the front end of their Subaru WRX STi and it was not immediately clear whether the car -- a very high-spec model built for the Subaru team's recent X Games conquest - would drive again.

The Ojibwe Forests Rally is a driver favorite in the nine-event Rally America series, offering technically challenging, flowing roads in the 10,000 Lakes region of Minnesota, near the headwaters of the Mississippi River

The Rally America Championship is the premier national rally series in the United States. Competitors vying for the title take on everything from snow and ice in northern Michigan in January, to the Nevada desert in December.

Competitors will meet again in Steamboat Springs, Co., for Round 7, the Colorado Cog Rally, Sept. 22 to 24.

-credit: rally america

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Alex Gelsomino , Christian Edstrom , Colin McRae , Travis Pastrana , Nicky Grist , Matthew Johnson , Ken Block , Ole Holter , Tanner Foust