Subaru Rally Team USA's Travis Pastrana Takes First 2009 Win Atlanta, MI -- Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana scored the first victory of the 2009 season with a decisive win at Sno*Drift in northern Michigan. Pastrana and co-driver...
Subaru Rally Team USA's Travis Pastrana Takes First 2009 Win
Atlanta, MI -- Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana scored the first victory of the 2009 season with a decisive win at Sno*Drift in northern Michigan.
Pastrana and co-driver Christian Edstrom built a healthy lead from the start, ending Day 1 with a 52-second lead over challenger Tanner Foust. By the end of the contest, the duo had extended the gap to a minute and 49 seconds.
"It's a great way to start the season, with points under my belt," said Pastrana. "But every mailbox looked like a deer on that last stage."
Deer have become something of a theme for Pastrana and Edstrom at Sno*Drift. Last year at this event, Pastrana and Edstrom lost their lead when they struck a deer on the second-to-last stage and were unable to finish.
Rockstar Energy's Foust and co-driver Chrissie Beavis picked up the pace throughout the event as they became more familiar with the 2003 Hyundai Tiburon they were campaigning for the first time at this event.
"Getting used to a new car takes time and there will be that learning curve for us again at the next round," said Foust, who is expected to campaign a Mitsubishi at 100 Acre Wood in February. "But I'm excited about this year."
Third place went to NOS Energy team of Andrew "ACP" Comrie-Picard and Marc Goldfarb, who overcame handling problems with their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX to pull into the podium position late on Day 2.
"It was a classic snow rally," said Comrie-Picard at the finish. "We stayed in it and didn't make any mistakes."
The event was a heartbreaker for Bill Bacon and co-driver Peter Watt who had been in strong contention for a podium position when they spun off the road late on the second day. They were able to finish the contest but wound up in fifth-place overall, behind Polish driver Andi Mancin and co-driver Maciej Wislawski.
The contest was also a disappointment for Pastrana's Subaru Rally Team USA teammates Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino. They were battling for the lead Friday when they went off the road, then suffered mechanical problems that ended their rally. Winter events have not typically been kind to the duo; the conditions don't suit Block's flat-out style.
"Ice and snow rallies are lotteries," said Gelsomino. "We don't want to mess with this stuff anymore."
Pastrana partnered again for this contest with Edstrom after the co-driver's yearlong hiatus from the sport. His 2008 co-driver, Derek Ringer, is competing alongside Subaru Rally Team USA's newest member Dave Mirra.
Although Mirra finished this event in sixth-place overall an Open class Subaru, he is expected to begin a campaign for the new Super Production title at the next round, when his new car is ready.
Bryan Pepp and Jerry Stang scored the first national victory in the new Super Production class in a Subaru WRX. The class features lightly modified performance vehicles and is expected to be hotly contested this season.
"It feels pretty darn good to be here," said Pepp at the finish. "We managed to come out ahead by being consistent and steady and staying in control; that's what it takes."
Chris Greenhouse and Don DeRose took the win in the new combined two-wheel drive class after mechanical trouble put an end to a promising start by young driver Kyle Sarasin and co-driver Alexander Kihurani, who ultimately finished second in class.
Sno*Drift is the first stop on the 2009 Rally America National Championship. It is the only winter weather event in the national championship. The series moves to Missouri for Round 2, the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, February 27-28.