Rally America: Travis Pastrana Takes Oregon Trail Win and Championship Lead

Tony CastaneiraAnalyst IMay 17, 2009

Travis Pastrana took the win this weekend at the Oregon Trail Rally, and moved into the championship lead.  

The Subaru Rally Team USA driver set a blistering tempo to pull into the lead over the hard-packed forest roads early on Day 2, and held it there to the finish. It’s the third win in four starts for the duo in their Subaru WRX STi.

“It was an amazing rally,” said Pastrana. “That’s three wins and a tree this season – not so bad.”

Rockstar Energy’s Tanner Foust put in a steady drive all through the many elevation changes of the Mount Hood area’s hilly terrain and looked for a sure second-place finish when he spun out on the closing stage and hit a rock with their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. They managed to hold on, finishing just 3.6 seconds ahead of Andi Mancin.

“It was a pretty clean rally the whole way,” said Foust. “Subarus are known for being really tough and I think our Evo X has proven tough this weekend, too. She brought us all the way home after we hit the rock and we’re pretty pleased to get second.”

Mancin has proven at this event that they can match the pace of Rally America’s top drivers with his first U.S. podium.

“I’m very happy, it’s a very significant result for our team,” said Mancin, who pilots a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. “These were very difficult stages – but they were beautiful.”

NOS Energy crew of Andrew Comrie-Picard finished in fourth place in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, just 2.8 seconds behind Mancin after flat tire on Day Two cost him a minute to the leaders. It was a disappointment for “ACP”, who had battled hard to regain the podium.

To add insult to injury the finish drops him from first to third in the championship standings, behind Pastrana and second-place Foust.

“That flat tire yesterday was really tough to overcome and the times were incredibly close the end,” said Comrie-Picard. “We had been clawing back time since yesterday but I have to hand it to Andi.  He drove a great race.”

Ken Block’s run of bad luck continued. A flat tire and damage to a control arm meant their rally ended early on Day Two. This makes three DNFs in four starts for Block who returned to the action Sunday for a fun run at the regional contest and even though they didn’t score points, they set some of the fastest times of the day.

“It’s getting a little frustrating,” said Block. “I have the speed, I feel, to win every single one of these…I thought I had some bad luck last year and it’s getting worse this year.”

The new competitive Super Production class was won Subaru Rally Team USA’s Dave Mirra, finishing sixth overall. Heavy attrition in the Super Production class this weekend saw Matt Johnson and Piotr Wiktorcszyk retire early and Mirra said all he had to do was hang on and keep it clean.

“A lot of it is just trying to find a pace,” said Mirra. “It’s great to be in this class with so many competitive drivers.”

Dillon Van Way notched another win in the two-wheel drive class Ford Focus. This is the young Van Way’s first season of competition.

Photo and Quotes: Rally America