Subaru Rally Team USA Earns Maiden Victory
Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block has won the 100 Acre Wood Rally, Round 2 of the Rally America National Championship, driving his 2006 Subaru WRX STI. Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino won the rally in convincing fashion, winning eight of the rally's 17 stages and amassed an insurmountable lead of nearly two minutes before wisely slowing up to take his first Overall rally win, and the first win for the new 2006 Subaru WRX STI. The100 Acre Wood rally took place over two days, covering more than 100 miles of challenging dirt and gravel roads near the Mark Twain National Forest, of south central Missouri.
Block's teammate, X-Games and motocross star Travis Pastrana started Day 2 of the rally in the lead and their biggest competition was eachother, as they pulled away from the rest of the 50 plus car field. But Pastrana and his co-driver Christian Edstrom were forced to withdraw from the event after making contact with a tree. "We were on the inside of a very fast bend when I hit something under the leaves, a rock or a tree stump," explained Pastrana. "Whatever it was it was really solid because it ripped the steering wheel right out of my hands and I clipped a tree with the rear of the car. I'm really upset because my Subaru felt so good all weekend and I was happy with my driving."
After Pastrana withdrew, Block and co-driver Gelsomino continued to increase their lead on the rest of the field before backing off and cruising to victory. "What a great feeling, my first rally win, it is something I'll never forget," grinned an elated Block. "Although it's unfortunate what happened to Travis, our outright speed throughout most of the rally made us confidant that we will be fighting for more victories this year."
Block only just began rallying in 2005, and his natural speed coupled with his consistent results earned him '2005 Rally America Rookie Of The Year' honors. The competition is fierce in the nine round Rally America National Championship, where accomplished International drivers as well as veteran North American drivers compete at every event, adding weight to Block's accomplishments thus far. "Ken has a good background with demanding sports like snowboarding, skateboarding and motocross, so that undoubtedly plays a role in his success behind the wheel," explains Vermont SportsCar team owner Lance Smith. "But its Ken's preparation that gives him the edge, his pre-event preparation and his ability to stay mentally focused are what make him such a good rally driver."
Both Pastrana and Block will now fly straight to the Corona Rally Mexico, Round 3 of the World Rally Championship to perform reconnaissance of the route in order to prepare for a 2007 entry at the Corona Rally Mexico as well as other WRC rounds.
They both look forward to their next Rally America event, Round 3 in Portland Oregon at the Oregon Trail Rally. The popular event is held in the lush forests of western Oregon, April 21-23.