Subaru Rally Team USA Encounters Challenging Roads At STPR

(June 9, 2008) The 32nd annual Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) proved a battle of attrition that claimed many top teams including both Subaru Rally Team USA entries of Travis Pastrana and Ken Block. Pastrana and co-driver Derek Ringer were unhurt after a high-speed impact into a road-side dirt embankment ended their rally. Teammate Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino damaged the suspension on their new 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI on an uncharacteristically rough stage, forcing them to stop. Block was able to continue on day two and complete a bulk of the event's 120 competitive stage miles but was ineligible for any national points.

Fortunately for SRT USA, the top of championship standings remain unchanged after several of the other championship front runners failed to finish as well. Pastrana remains just one point adrift of the championship leader in 2nd overall, while Block sits just two points behind Pastrana in third overall.

STPR is a high-speed classic that takes place on north central Pennsylvania's fast and flowing gravel and clay-based forest roads. Regarded as one of the fastest Rally America events, this event features narrow, tree-lined roads that are notoriously dangerous.

That danger proved true for two-time defending Rally America Champion Travis Pastrana who ran wide on a deceptive high speed corner and slammed his new #199 BFGoodrich Tires-shod 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI into a road-side dirt embankment. Both Pastrana and his co-driver Derek Ringer emerged un-injured from the shunt, but their car sustained heavy damage and was unable to continue. "I made a mistake listening to the notes and just came into a sharp turn at the end of a fast section way too fast," explained a somber Pastrana. "Luckily for us a lot of other guys had problems here and the championship standings remain pretty much the same at the top. The new 2008 STI felt amazing to drive and I am confident that we'll be at the top of the podium with it very soon."

The other official Subaru Rally Team USA entry of #43 Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino retired from the national portion of the event after damaging their 2008 STI's suspension on an extremely rough stage on day one. The SRT USA mechanics were able to make repairs overnight and Block entered day two of the rally without the chance to earn national points. With no points to gain and in the interest of testing towards further development of the new car, Block maintained a conservative approach yet still performed very competitively, winning one stage and finishing in second on two others. "The two rough stages early in the event were brutal, and we damaged our suspension on something," explained Block. "It's a brand new car with so many new and custom components so it's understandable, but the good thing is we ran day two virtually trouble- free and got some great test time in the car."

Subaru Rally Team now has a four week break before traveling for the New England Forest Rally, July 11-12.

-credit: www.subaru.com/rally