WHAT: Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, the second event in the nine-event 2008 Rally America National Championship Series season.
WHERE: Salem, Mo.
WHEN: Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23
DISTANCE: 105 stage miles/374 total miles
2007 EVENT WINNER: Ken Block
2007 SERIES CHAMPION: Travis Pastrana
Quotes from selected Rally America National Championship Series drivers about the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood on Feb. 22 and 23 in Salem, Mo. (Drivers listed in alphabetical order):
AMY BEBERVANZO (No. 14 Subaru Impreza WRX): About her first experience competing with co-driver Aubrey Volger at the Sno*Drift season opener: "For a first outing, our teamwork was fabulous. We were both thrust into unknowns. Aubrey had pace-note reading experience, coming from hill climbs, but she'd never done the timing and transit parts of rally co-driving. We had good support at Sno*Drift from the more experienced co-drivers on the team: Chrissie (Beavis), Alex (Kihurani) and Robbie (Durant) were incredible with Aubrey, making sure she had what she needed to get up to speed. Being supported in a team is empowering, knowing that others are looking out for you." About her performance in the season opener: "There were a lot of challenges for us. I am really happy that we maintained good communication and kept trying different things. I was frustrated with my learning curve in the new car on the ice and snow, and Aubrey was great at shifting my focus. We came away with five points toward our championship. We would never have had those five points if we hadn't given it our best at Sno*Drift." About the stage roads at 100 Acre Wood: "What I really like about 100 Acre Wood is that it has variety. There's a lot of fast, flowy stuff, and then there's enough of the more technical stuff to mix it up and keep you sharp and on your game. You really need to be paying attention. Sometimes you're going flat out, and in other places, you need to do your best at negotiating the technical turns so you can get through them and get back to the fast stuff. I love to put my foot down."
KEN BLOCK (2006 and 2007 winner, Rally in the 100 Acre Wood) (No. 43 Subaru Rally Team USA Subaru Impreza WRX STI): "My goal is to win 100 Acre Wood for the third year in a row. The roads are very fast and flowing. They are some of my favorite roads in the championship and fit my driving style very well. I plan on going flat out. This will be the second event in a row in the Rally America championship with one-pass recce. On a high-speed event like this, recce is critical to me for adjusting the organizer-supplied stage notes to make a clean and safe run at the top speeds that are reachable on this event. So, thanks to all the organizers this year who are making this feature available for us."
ANDREW COMRIE-PICARD (Second in Rally America point standings entering 100 Acre Wood; third, 2007 Rally in the 100 Acre Wood): "We're mostly here for points, so we'll drive to be on the podium rather than win outright. But then last year, we were third overall and only 26 seconds off the win, so pushing is tempting. We'll see how it develops. (100 Acre Wood is) a fast, basically smooth, early spring rally. To an extent it favors very brave drivers, but there are technical parts too, especially if the weather is wet. The level water crossings are a unique challenge. The roads are old and organic, not rough and rocky like some other events, which means they can turn to mud easily, but they're smooth if dry. I'll try to win the technical stages." About the contenders for victory at 100 Acre Wood: "You've got to favor Ken Block, as he has 'the feeling' here. Travis (Pastrana) was nearly flawless at the last event, though, so he's a major concern. We were third to those guys last year, but I'm sure that Tanner (Foust) and (Andrew) Pinker have all it takes to bag this one. It should be a great race. At least five of us could easily win this event. There are several more newly-fast guys just waiting to jump on us: Matt Johnston and Kyle Sarasin, in particular. The competition right now is awesome."
WILL CORRY (No. 117 Subaru Impreza WRX STI): About expectations for 100 Acre Wood: "I definitely enjoy the high-speed stuff. All the hill climb events that I did in Colorado last year were over 110 miles an hour, so I'm definitely used to the faster, flowing roads. I think that's why 100 Acre Wood will probably suit me a great deal and hopefully be more of a familiar setting for me. Sno*Drift was more of a test of patience because we weren't able to utilize all the power in the car because of the limited amount of grip. I'm hoping that at 100 Acre Wood, we'll be able to utilize the power that's in the car because there's a whole lot more on tap than there was in the Group N car. We'll be able to get all the power to the ground and just enjoy ourselves." About his first experience competing with co-driver Alex Kihurani at the season opener: "The team right now is pretty much where I'd hoped we'd be. The result really wasn't a representation of how fast Alex and I were at Sno*Drift. A lot of the time, we were able to mix it up around the top-five stage times. The overall result was kind of disappointing, but it was a fabulous experience. It's a learning curve for both of us, having never sat together until Sno*Drift, but now we understand how each other works. Alex is beginning to understand just how quick I can go. I know that Alex was quite surprised at how hard I was committing to his calls at Sno*Drift. I think he was quite taken aback by that. If I want to be on the pace of the top-five boys, I need to absolutely, 100 percent commit to what he's telling me and get on with it. About working with teammates Tanner Foust and Andrew Pinker: "Andrew and Tanner's experience is massive, in all regards. From pretty much the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, those guys are just fountains of information. Tanner and Andrew have helped a great deal on the setup of the car. They can give me a pretty solid base on the whole car, and I can fine tune it to my own driving style. That has definitely been really helpful. Hopefully, I'll do the team proud at 100 Acre Wood."
TANNER FOUST (X Games 13 Rally Car Racing Gold Medalist; sixth in Rally America point standings entering 100 Acre Wood) (No. 4 Rockstar Energy Drink Rally Team Subaru Impreza WRX STI): "100 Acre Wood is a crazy fast rally. Where Sno*Drift is spent trying to delicately accelerate out of tight corners -- or snow banks in my case -- the Missouri rally is dominated by top gear, hair-raising commitment. It could be considered a horsepower-intensive rally, as these cars, with their hood scoops, roof vents and large wings, are pushing a lot of air at over 100 mph. With the Rockstar Energy Drink Rally Team, we will debut a new engine package from Cosworth that will, unfortunately, have very few testing miles on it. With AEM electronics and the racing knowledge of Cosworth under the hood, we hope to give Ken Block a run for his money."
MATTHEW JOHNSON (2006 and 2007 Rally America Production GT champion; fourth in Rally America point standings entering 100 Acre Wood) (No. 46 Hankook RalliSpec Subaru Impreza WRX STI): "We pulled out a strong finish at Sno*Drift and started the season off well. I aim to continue the trend and make the ESPN summer X Games 14. Our Hankook RalliSpec Rally Team will be debuting the new rally car at 100 Acre Wood. RalliSpec has been hard at work for several weeks bringing our new steed to reality. Since it will be my first event in the new car, I'm looking for a solid finish with few risks. I'd like to learn the new car and drive well in it. If we do that, we'll have a decent finish with valuable points." About the stage roads at 100 Acre Wood: "The roads at 100 Acre Wood are really fun. They are some of the best in the country, apart from those car-swallowing low-water bridges that can really bang a car up and choke it to death. Worm (co-driver Jeremy Wimpey) and I had a massive crash here last year that ended the life of my old orange PGT car. We'll be noting that corner more carefully this season!" About the contenders for victory at 100 Acre Wood: "For the overall win, it's going to be interesting. Ken (Block) has won the last two years here, so he's got to be gunning to make it happen again. I bet there is a bit of extra pressure to be pushing hard and winning when it's been your event twice in the past. I think Travis (Pastrana) has learned some things and honed his style since last year, so he'll be flying. Then you have Tanner (Foust), who will also be flying, regardless. I think I'll worry about my own driving to start, kick back and see what unfolds in front of me. It's rally, after all, and anything can happen."
ANTOINE L'ESTAGE (2007 North American Rally champion; 2006 and 2007 Canadian Rally champion; Rally America points leader entering 100 Acre Wood) (No. 17 Royal Group Yokohama Hyundai Tiburon): "Winning the first round of the Rally America championship was an excellent way for us to start the year. Like Sno*Drift, it'll be my first time driving the stages at 100 Acre Wood. I've never driven these roads before, but I hear they are very fast, which I always enjoy. I know it will be challenging, but hopefully we can fight for the top spots and maybe keep our lead in the overall standings. Everyone is telling me that this is Ken's (Block) rally, but Travis (Pastrana) is always fast -- so is Andy (Pinker), and so is Tanner (Foust). I guess we'll have to wait and see." About his busy schedule: "This will be our third national rally in six weeks. We came away from Sno*Drift and Perce-Neige (in Canada) with wins and a fairly unscathed car, so we only have minor things to do to it in preparation for 100 Acre Wood. Our rally car was built in 2001, and while it's very reliable and well-prepared, there's no denying it doesn't have the same up-to-date technology as some of the other newer cars at the top of the pack."
DAVE MIRRA (BMX veteran; will make gravel rally debut at 100 Acre Wood) (No. 40 Monster Energy Subaru Impreza): "After a successful finish in round 1, the infamous Sno*Drift Rally, I am so ready for a chance on gravel. I hear the stages are fast with great sight lines, so my goal is to start at a decent pace, build momentum and push harder every stage. I still need four more co-efficient points to get my full rally license and move up to a faster Open class car, so my plan is to finish, but finish stronger than I did at Sno*Drift."
PAT MORO (PGT class points leader entering 100 Acre Wood) (No. 59 Subaru Impreza): "It's a good fast and flowing rally. The roads are some of the best roads, so I do really enjoy going to 100 Acre. My main goal is just to finish and have a car that actually runs with a good amount of power. The last couple of years that I've gone there, my car has always had some sort of a power issue. We've worked really hard this year to make sure that we don't have that issue again. Obviously, we're going for the championship, so our main goal is to finish in at least the top three in PGT." About new team sponsor Hankook: "Our team is now going to be the Hankook PMR Motorsports team. We just signed a deal with Hankook tire to be our tire supplier and a title sponsor on our car for the year. We're really happy about it. We'll have a new Hankook livery for our car this year. It's definitely going to be a different look."
TRAVIS PASTRANA (2006 and 2007 Rally America Series champion; 25th in season opener -- DNF; accident) (No. 199 Subaru Rally Team USA Subaru Impreza WRX STI): "The 100 Acre Wood Rally is the single most important event for me to win in this championship. I have yet to win this event, and my teammate Ken Block has dominated there by huge margins the past two years. The first event went really well for me except right at the finish when we hit a deer, but our speed was so good there that we have some confidence heading into 100 Acre Wood. The 100 Acre Wood Rally probably has the most flowing and fun roads on the Rally America championship schedule. There are some water crossings and the weather is always variable, so that will add to the challenge. Commitment is the name of the game at 100 Acre. Now with the one-pass recce, if you aren't fully committed to the fast turns and many blind crests, you won't be in the top five at this event. I feel that the championship is really getting started here because most of the top competitors for the Rally America national championship had horrible results at the opener. Tanner (Foust) and Andrew (Pinker) had some bad luck in the first round, and we know they are going to be up front now that we are out of the snow. I would expect (Antoine) L'Estage to be a serious threat at this event, however, especially after some dominant performances over the winter. The level of talent is amazing this year, and it's obvious by the results of the first rally that there will be some big surprises this season."
ANDREW PINKER (Second overall, 2007 Rally America National Championship Series; 25th in season opener -- DNF; engine) (No. 2 Rockstar Energy Drink Rally Team Subaru Impreza WRX STI): "We would have liked to have been going into 100 Acre Wood with more than one point. At least Travis (Pastrana) and I are tied again, with one point each so far. My goal for this rally is to get as many points on the board for the championship as possible. The car should be good. We've made some changes and improvements on the car since Sno*Drift, where we had a few problems. We will have new engines in both my and Tanner's car in time for 100 Acre Wood, which will hopefully close the power gap between us and the factory teams. We're hoping to debut the Pirelli tires at 100 Acre Wood, as well." About the stage roads at 100 Acre Wood: "It's not my favorite kind of rally because it's just really high-speed straights and then a corner. It's not as challenging as the twisty events. It's not as technical. It requires a different kind of skill. It requires you to risk the car a lot. You've got to be right on the ragged edge the whole time. When you do that on the slower stages, if you make a mistake, you will more than likely be able to get away with it without much bad damage. However, if you make a mistake at 100 Acre Wood, you're probably going to damage the car quite a lot. It's very similar to STPR, except the roads are a lot wider at 100 Acre Wood. STPR is one of my least-favorite events, as well, but we managed to win that one last year. I'm all about conquering my fears and overcoming hurdles, so to win 100 Acre Wood would be a very big thing for me." About the communication between driver and co-driver at 100 Acre Wood: "There's probably more trust involved because the speed is higher. Picking your braking points for corners is a lot more difficult, because if you're just flying along in fifth gear and you see the corner coming up, you've got to figure out exactly when is the latest that you can brake and get away with it. Fortunately, we're doing recce again for this event, so we can get the (pace) notes better. The accuracy of distances in between corners and a really good description of each corner are required so you can hit the entry to the corner and carry the maximum amount of speed through it. If you go through a corner at 45 (mph) and you could have been going through at 50, that's five miles an hour that you lose all the way down the next straight. Your time loss from any little errors is magnified. At 100 Acre Wood, it's all about keeping your speed up the whole time."
KYLE SARASIN (2007 Rally America Series Rookie of the Year; third in Rally America point standings entering 100 Acre Wood) (No. 55 CPD Racing Subaru Impreza WRX STI): "After being welcomed to the front of the order and setting the bar high at Sno*Drift, we hope to continue being competitive through 100 Acre Wood. Last year, we were not able to run 100 Acre Wood competitively due to a mechanical DNF on the first stage. I really liked the roads. They seem to suit me well, and I noticed that when it rains, it's a whole different challenge to tackle. I am learning a bit more about the Open class car and feeling more confident working with it as stages go by. I'm also realizing how competitive and fast the group of Open class drivers is. Sno*Drift proved that anything can happen. Ken (Block) had a minor off, costing him tons of time, and then was setting crazy fast stage times, taking out chunks of time and closing the gap on everyone in front. Travis (Pastrana) had a sure win taken away through no fault of his own, and Matt Johnson proved to be very competitive in a borrowed car. I am very pumped to see how things will play out at the challenging 100 Acre Wood."
-credit: Rally America/WMG