Sunday: Race Day 2
Temperature: High 60s
Road Surface: Dry, dusty gravel
Travis Pastrana and Christian Edstrom have won the 2009 Olympus Rally. The racers awoke to a beautiful blue sky in Aberdeen, Washington and the scenery made for spectacular driving. Racing clean all day, and with their Subaru WRX STI firmly gripping the twisty mountain roads, car #199 pulled through for the team. The win puts Pastrana closer to claiming his fourth consecutive National Championship victory. With Christian Edstrom''s return as co-driver for car #199, the duo have rekindled their winning partnership and are hopeful for an excellent outcome to this year''s season.
The other members of Subaru Rally Team USA were not as fortunate in today''s leg of the race. Although Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino entered the day in the lead, an unexpected mechanical failure on Stage 13 forced them to retire. This was a huge disappointment for Ken, who is determined to win the championship. Without the championship points he could have earned from a top finish this weekend, Ken has had his goal pulled further away. Hope is not lost, however. This is rally racing and only a small portion of the Rally America season has been run. Anything could happen in the many events to come and a championship victory this year is far from impossible for car #43.
Dave Mirra and Derek Ringer were having an outstanding day, settling in to their new car. Mirra came through the spectator spot on the 10 mile Stage 14 looking like a seasoned pro. Regrettably on SS15, the reverse run of that stage, Mirra was carrying too much speed into a tightening turn and clipped the outside bank, damaging the suspension. Although they were able to make it to the end of the stage, Mirra and Ringer were unable to continue. With only one stage until finish, this was a disheartening end to an otherwise successful debut of their new car.
In the Super Production class, Piotr Wiktorczyk and Grzegorz Dorman grabbed the class win for car #61. The competition was fierce with Matthew Johnson and Jeremy Wimpey leading day 1 in car #46. On the final stage of the first leg, a brake malfunction ended the rally for Johnson and Wimpey. For the majority of the second day Wiktorczyk and Mirra battled for first in-class with three other Super Production teams not far behind. Setting top-of-class times each stage and resisting the day''s attrition, Wiktorczyk and Dorman have claimed the win at this race and have taken the lead in the SP Championship.
Subaru Rally Team USA will remain on the West Coast until after next month''s Oregon Trail Rally. This year the event gains new stages in Hood River, Oregon. With a change in scenery, this year''s Oregon Trail is bound to be full of surprises and excitement.
Saturday: Race Day 1
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Temperature: Low-to-mid 50s
Road Surface: Gravel with some mud
Subaru Rally Team USA has headed to the Pacific Coast for the The 2009 Olympus Rally. The third round of the Rally America National Championship, kicked off today with a Parc Exposé in Aberdeen, Washington. Thirty miles north, near the town of Taholah in the Quinault Indian Reserve, the first stage of the day was a breathtaking climb up a coastal logging trail. Seaside vistas gave way to muddy logging roads and the drivers were quickly introduced to how varying the scenery will be at this race. Downhill from the winding mountain roads, the next few stages were comprised of many extremely fast straightaways with man-made chicanes placed to limit top-speed runs.
Subaru Rally Team USA''s Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino are off to a great start and in the lead at the end of the first day. After winning the previous rally for the fourth year in a row, Block hopes to keep his momentum by scoring win at this event. Teammates Travis Pastrana and Christian Edstrom are trailing slightly in third place. Tied with Block in the Championship, Pastrana will be pushing for a comeback tomorrow with hopes for the win. Tomorrows roads are much twistier with a great variety of surfaces, requiring the more technical style of driving that is Pastrana''s strong suit. In the Super Production class, Dave Mirra and Derek Ringer have pushed car #40 to second place in-class. This is the first event in which Mirra is running his brand-new 2009 Subaru WRX STI rally car. With a new platform and better handling, Mirra has a definite shot at the class win.
With the top three cars only seconds apart, tomorrow''s racing will be an exciting scramble for first place. The roads and weather conditions are so varying and the competition is so close that it''s anybody''s guess who will make it to the top of the podium.