Subaru Driver Travis Pastrana Hits Deer While Leading the SnoDrift Rally, Teammate Ken Block finishes 5th Overall At Season Opener
(January 30, 2008) - Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana had victory snatched shockingly away from him in the final moments of the SnoDrift Rally when a deer collided into his competition car. Pastrana, the 2006 and 2007 Rally America National Champion was leading the event comfortably with just eleven stage miles remaining when the rally-ending collision occurred.His Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car sustained heavy engine damage and was unable to continue, though both Pastrana and his co-driver Christian Edstrom were uninjured.
The SnoDrift Rally, round one of the nine-round 2008 Rally America National Championship, was held on over 117 miles of snow and ice-covered roads in northern Michigan. Constantly changing weather and road conditions historically make this rally extremely challenging, and this year was no exception. The forest roads featured fresh snow over layers of ice, making tire choice and road position huge factors in the results.
Subaru Rally Team USA drivers Travis Pastrana and Ken Block, each driving 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally cars, were the class of the field for most of the rally, together winning thirteen of the event's sixteen stages.Pastrana pulled away from all competitors on Leg 1, including teammate Ken Block, and amassed a lead of over 46 seconds. He then started Leg 2 with a conservative mindset while the rest of the field battled for the remaining podium spots. "Because of the lead we built on Friday it meant we could just sit back and relax on the final leg, which for me isn't very exciting," said Pastrana."But on the second to last stage with a huge lead and just a few miles to the finish we hit a deer at over 60MPH! It all happened so quickly, we were shocked.The engine on our Subaru was badly damaged and we
coasted to a stop, game over. What amazingly bad luck!"
Luck wasn't on teammate Ken Block's side either, when earlier on Leg 2 he dropped from 2nd to 8th place overall after his Subaru became stuck in a snow bank. Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino lost over ten minutes, a near eternity in rallying.But the duo fought back to a 5th Overall finish and secured crucial championship points by winning all but one of the remaining six stages.
"We had the speed here; we won over half of the sixteen stages and could have been on the podium or even won." said Block. "It's upsetting because we were not really pushing hard and it wasn't a big mistake, we just got sucked into the inside snow bank of an easy left turn.Now I can't wait until the 100 Acre Wood Rally next month since I've won there the past two years, and I have a lot of confidence on those roads."
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