(July 19, 2010) Subaru driver Travis Pastrana dominated the majority of the New England Forest Rally this past weekend at the wheel of his BFGoodrich Tires-shod 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI before a problem with his engine stopped him on the penultimate competition stage, forcing him to retire. Pastrana and co-driver Christian Edstrom were able to pull away convincingly from the competition early and built a lead of over three minutes on the event’s technical gravel roads that snake through the forests along the Maine-New Hampshire border. Then unexpectedly, with under fifteen competitive stage miles remaining, Pastrana experienced an engine problem which forced him to stop on stage, ending his run to victory.
“The rally went 100% our way up until the very end,” explained Pastrana. “My Subaru was set up well, we were able to get a nice lead after the first day and then extend and maintain that lead on the second day very easily. Plus a few other teams were slowed with their own problems. The win was nearly in sight when our engine began to hit trouble, but that’s rallying and we put on a great show for the fans all weekend.”
The New England Forest Rally, the sixth and final round of the 2010 Rally America National Championship, marks the end of Pastrana’s four year reign as the Rally America Champion (2006-2009). Due to a schedule conflict with his Nitro Circus Live Tour in Australia, Pastrana was unable to attend two of the six Rally America rounds this year thus making it difficult to amass sufficient points towards a title defense. Multi-time Canadian Champion Antoine L’Estage, who had entered every round of the 2010 series, was crowned the 2010 Rally America National Champion. “I’m so happy for Antoine (L’Estage) and (his co-driver) Nathalie (Richard), they are probably the most friendly team in the series, and I really enjoy competing against them. They had a great year and deserve to be the Champs.”
“Although our result coming away from New England [Forest Rally] was less than ideal, Travis drove a brilliant rally and showcased the competitiveness of our STI at one of the most difficult rounds on the Rally America schedule,” said James Han, motorsports marketing manager at Subaru of America, Inc. “Going into this season, we were well aware of the massive challenge facing Travis to retain the national title missing fully a third of the championship. To think that he joined Subaru in 2005 with virtually no rally experience to go on and win four consecutive titles with SRT USA is a testament to Travis’ driving talent and development, the quality of work by our partner Vermont SportsCar, plus the strong performance base in the Subaru Impreza WRX STI in which each and every one of our rally cars is built from. My heartfelt congratulations go out to both Antoine and Nathalie for a solid championship run.”
Subaru Rally Team USA driver Dave Mirra sat out the New England Forest Rally in order to train for BMX Freestyle competition at ESPN’s upcoming X Games 16. Mirra will enter BMX events as well as the two rally events, Rally Car Racing and the newly introduced SuperRally, which is based on the wheel-to-wheel format of European Rallycross.
Subaru Rally Team USA will attend X Games 16 with a three-car lineup that includes Pastrana, Mirra and Sverre Isachsen, the defending FIA European RallyCross Champion. Competition will air live on ESPN Saturday July 31, 2010.
Subaru Rally Team USA is proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT), DC Shoes, BFGoodrich Tires, RECARO, Vision X, Alpinestars, Motul, Exedy, VP Fuels and Vermont SportsCar. For more information on Subaru Rally Team USA, as well as exclusive photo and video galleries visit rally.subaru.com and for the latest news follow the team on Twitter: twitter.com/srtusa.