PINKER, PASTRANA BATTLE HEATS UP AS RALLY AMERICA HEADS TO OJIBWE GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn., Aug. 21, 2007 -- The battle for the 2007 Rally America National Championship title remains intense as the top rally drivers in the country head to...
PINKER, PASTRANA BATTLE HEATS UP AS RALLY AMERICA HEADS TO OJIBWE
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn., Aug. 21, 2007 -- The battle for the 2007 Rally America National Championship title remains intense as the top rally drivers in the country head to northern Minnesota for the Ojibwe Forests Rally on Aug. 24 and 25.
Entering this weekend's rally, the top three drivers in the 2007 Rally America standings are separated by just 12 points. After six of nine events, RockStar Energy Drink Syms Racing Rally Team driver Andrew Pinker and co-driver Robbie Durant lead the standings, 86-77, over Subaru Rally Team USA's Travis Pastrana and co-driver Christian Edstrom.
Ken Block and co-driver Alessandro Gelsomino are third, while Pinker's RockStar Energy Drink teammates and X Games gold medalists Tanner Foust and Chrissie Beavis are fourth with 55 points.
Pinker and Durant, who have won two of the first six races this year, are looking to regain their winning form following a disappointing fifth-place finish in New England in July. The duo enters Ojibwe with a completely rebuilt race car after sustaining significant damage to their No. 5 Subaru in the non-points X Games competition.
"Our goal is to win the next three events," Pinker said. "I've never been to Ojibwe, but I've beaten Travis at events I've never been to before. He has an advantage of knowing the course, but I don't think he was pushed very hard on the next three events by anyone last year.
"At the moment, it is just important for us to be in front of Travis every time. I am not counting Ken or Tanner out of the championship yet -- I am sure they will play a big part in it -- but for now, our focus is on Travis."
Pastrana and Edstrom, who claimed victory on the rugged Minnesota forest roads last season, are confident of their ability to repeat in 2007 but mindful of the Pinker/Durant threat.
"Travis and I expect to do very well at Ojibwe," Edstrom said. "We were very challenged by the roads in 2005, but we did very well there in 2006, and we like that there is a long stage at the end. If it's close with the long stage to go, we'll do very well.
"It's very important for us to beat Andy Pinker this weekend. If we beat Andy, we're in a good position going into the last two events of the year."
-credit: Rally America/WMG