Subaru Rally USA driver Travis Pastrana and co-driver Christian Edstrom took the gold medal in the inaugural X Games Rally event, clinching a sweep of the podium by Subaru rally cars.
Pastrana edged out a win over rally legend and former Subaru World Rally Champion Colin McCrae.
After discovering he had won the X Games Rally competition, a jubilant Pastrana said, “This was a great day for rallying in North America and I hope the fans enjoyed it, because we certainly did.”
Pastrana’s Subaru teammates Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino took the bronze medal.
All drove Open Class Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally cars sponsored by Subaru of America, Inc. and prepared by Vermont SportsCar.
Eight of the ten top finishers drove Subaru-based rally cars.
The “Super Special” stage was full of drama as 1995 World Rally Champion McCrae led Pastrana by 0.5 seconds overall heading into Saturday’s event.
Pastrana set a blistering pace on the final stage, but it looked as if McCrae was on target to match it and take the overall win.
But, just after entering the stadium down a 150-foot ramp for the final few turns, McCrae cut the last jump too hard and nosed his Subaru WRX STI into the dirt.
After casually finishing a complete roll, McCrae kept the car running and had his foot floored as soon as all four wheels landed, powering his way to a silver medal finish just 0.52 seconds behind Pastrana.
“We just tried to turn too sharply in the air,” said McCrae co-driver Nicky Grist.
“This was definitely the fast way around the track, and we had tried it before in practice. In fact, it would have worked this time except the tire rolled off the wheel and caused us to flip.”
The win came on the heels of Pastrana’s gold medal performance in the Best Trick competition in Moto Freestyle the night before.
Pastrana completed the first-ever double back flip in competition and would end up with three gold medals in X Games 12.
Pastrana is also the current Rally America National Championship points leader with four rallies remaining on the calendar.
The third place bronze medal was well deserved for Ken Block, Subaru Rally USA team driver and the 2005 Rally America Rookie of the Year.
Block drove a very steady and clean race.
“It was just amazing to be involved in the X Games, let alone medal,” said Block. “Standing there with my medal and looking over and seeing Travis and Colin McCrae and thousands of people cheering, it was just amazing.”
Formula D driver and defending Rally America Production GT champion Tanner Faust finished a disappointing ninth in a Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car due to a flat tire on the eight-stage rally section held earlier in the week in Gorman, California.
“It really is a shame,” said Faust. “If we hadn’t had the flat we would have been in third going into the Super Special.”
Subaru Rally Team USA runs two Open Class 2006 Impreza WRX STI rally cars in the Rally America National Championship.
Both team cars are prepared by Subaru technical partner Vermont SportsCar and are based on stock Subaru Impreza WRX STI vehicles.
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