Pastrana Earns First Win of 2008 Season at Oregon Trail Rally
(May 18, 2008) Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana and co-driver Derek Ringer have won the 2008 Oregon Trail Rally with a faultless drive at the wheel of their 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car. Pastrana, the two-time defending Rally America National Champion, pulled away from the field on the very first stage and cruised to victory after a majority of his challengers retired from the rally due to a mixture of mistakes and mechanical difficulties. This marks the first victory for Pastrana this season and his first victory with his new co-driver, former WRC Champion Derek Ringer of Scotland.
The technical, dusty gravel roads of the Oregon Trail Rally, round four of the 2008 Rally America National Championship, proved extremely challenging for North America's top rally drivers as nearly half the field succumbed to crashes or other off-road excursions. Included in this attrition was Pastrana's teammate Ken Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino who slid their #43 Subaru wide and dropped into a ditch while sitting in second place overall on day two of the rally. "There was a misleading stage note that caught me out, we slid a bit wide and into a ditch and just got stuck there," said Block. "It was so frustrating because the car was totally fine and undamaged, and I had not been pushing at all."
It seemed as though only Pastrana made it through the rally unscathed as he drove mistake-free while his Subaru rally car ran flawlessly all weekend. Only a tire puncture near the end of the rally caused some concern for Pastrana, but with over a three minute lead over second place overall, Pastrana was not bothered by it. "We had some trouble finding our rhythm early in the rally, but then it all just came together and I just started driving smooth and fast while it seemed everyone around me was hitting trouble, it was a wild event," explained Pastrana. "The roads were just amazing, lots of fun but very challenging. This win puts us right at the front of the championship hunt." Pastrana moves up to 2nd Overall in the Rally America standings, just one point from first overall.
Pastrana and his Subaru Rally Team USA crew now head overseas to Greece for their second event of the 2008 Production World Rally Championship (P-WRC) campaign. The Acropolis Rally, May 30-June 1, is round seven of the 2008 World Rally Championship and will serve as Pastrana's second P-WRC this year, having competed in Rally Argentina in March.