Ken Block Returns to Scotland for the 2009 Colin McRae Forest Stages

September 30, 2009  - Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino will participate once again in the 2009 Colin McRae Forest Stages in Scotland this weekend. Block will be at the wheel of a sister car to his usual Rally America National Championship vehicle, a 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX STI built to Rally America's Open Class specifications. As the high-powered Vermont SportsCar-prepared, #43 Subaru STI does not conform to any of the car specification classes featured at the McRae Stages, the final round of the Scottish Rally Championship, Block will run as course-opening car for exhibition only.

As well as aligning his name to the rally, the late Colin McRae for many years ran as opening car on the event. For McRae's Scottish fans this was the only chance to see him drive on home-soil. After Colin McRae's passing in 2007, the rally was transformed into a star-studded event in 2008 when former WRC champions and dozens of rally legends competed in the event to pay tribute to McRae. The 2008 edition of the event saw Subaru Rally Team USA teammates Block and Travis Pastrana compete in historic cars along with their mentor, American rally legend John Buffum.

Block thoroughly enjoyed his time at event last year and jumped at the chance to attend again in 2009. "Colin was a friend and mentor and is sadly missed by so many, so competing at the Colin McRae Forest Stages is a small tribute to Colin and his fans. It was an honor to be invited to compete last year with so many rally legends, the atmosphere was amazing," explained Block. "This year I'll be in my usual Subaru, it's an extremely powerful car, and I'll make sure to put on a good McRae-style show for all the fans!"

Block's Gymkhana Subaru STI also made the trip across the Atlantic for a rare display appearance and as a bonus for the fans, Block is scheduled to perform a short driving demo with his course-opening Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car on Friday night at the Perth Racecourse, where the rally headquarters is based.

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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, Alpinestars, Motul, Exedy, GReddy and Vermont SportsCar. Visit www.subaru.com/rally  for Subaru Rally Team USA photo galleries, news and team information.

Subaru Rally Team USA Driver Ken Block Impresses in SP Class at Rally Colorado

September 23, 2009  - Piloting a lesser specification Subaru Impreza WRX STI at this past weekend's Rally Colorado, Subaru Rally Team USA (SRT USA) driver Ken Block hovered near the top of the time sheets throughout the event. Block was without his usual high-powered Open Class 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX STI and instead drove the Super Production (SP) class Subaru Impreza WRX STI of fellow SRT USA teammate Dave Mirra, who did not attend Rally Colorado due to a schedule conflict with a BMX event. Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino put in an impressive drive in the lower specification SP class car, running a majority of the rally in 3rd overall and winning three stages outright. Unfortunately for Block, the impressive drive was annulled on the penultimate stage after his Subaru developed an engine problem, forcing Block to withdraw.

"I had to change my driving style to adjust for the power difference between the SP and my usual Open Class car, staying much smoother and less sideways," explained Block. "I thought it would take a few stages to get used to it and get up to speed but we won the first stage of the rally which was really surprising, that gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the event. It was satisfying that we were able to challenge for a podium position with the top Open Class competitors."

The Super Production (SP) class, a new category in the 2009 Rally America series, features minimally modified, production-based cars. The budget-minded SP class features much more restrictive regulations on modifications than the Open Class, where Block has been driving for the past three seasons. The SP Subaru Impreza WRX STI features a stock engine, stock gearbox and very limited body shell modifications. Block crashed his Open Class Subaru heavily at the previous event, The Ojibwe Forests Rally, he and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino walked away unharmed but their Subaru rally car was terminally damaged. With insufficient time to prepare a spare rally car, SRT USA opted to provide Block with the team's Super Production class Subaru in Mirra's absence at Rally Colorado.

"Ken drove well in Colorado and further displayed the performance potential of the Subaru Impreza WRX STI in SP trim," mentioned James Han, motorsports marketing manager for Subaru of America, Inc. "By creating the competitive Super Production class, Rally America has established an attractive and more economical alternative to fielding an Open class-specification car for the privateer entrant."

The SP class is always highly competitive with closely fought battles amongst privateers fighting for nearly $13,000 in prize money per event offered by Subaru of America, Inc. Block, however, was fighting his battle amongst the faster Open class cars at Rally Colorado. The first half of the rally saw Block amass a lead of well over two minutes to the closest SP challenger.

Block's Subaru Rally Team USA teammate Travis Pastrana was comfortably leading Day 1 of Rally Colorado when a minor driving infraction incurred the driver of the #199 SRT USA STI a 7-minute penalty.

"A disappointing scenario, essentially a matter of Travis hitting three traffic cones in a chicane placed by event officials on-stage, amounted to a time penalty which would have been very challenging even in optimal circumstances to overcome on the 2nd day," said Han. "Given the lack of spare cars within the team's inventory, a decision to save the #199 STI for the final round of the Rally America National Championship was a prudent one." Travis Pastrana mathematically secured his 4th consecutive Rally America National Championship with a win at last month's Ojibwe Forests Rally.

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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, Alpinestars, Motul, Exedy, GReddy and Vermont SportsCar. Visit www.subaru.com/rally  for Subaru Rally Team USA photo galleries, news and team information.

Subaru Driver Ken Block Enters SP Class for Rally Colorado

September 18, 2009 - Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block will not be behind the wheel of his usual Open Class 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX STI at this weekend's Rally Colorado and instead will pilot the Super Production class Subaru Impreza WRX STI of fellow Subaru teammate Dave Mirra. Mirra will not be competing at Rally Colorado due to a schedule conflict with this weekend's Dew Tour BMX event in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Block crashed his Open Class Subaru heavily at the previous event, The Ojibwe Forests Rally. Although Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino walked away unharmed their Subaru rally car was terminally damaged. With insufficient time to prepare a spare rally car, SRT USA has opted to provide Block with the team's Super Production class Subaru in Mirra's absence at Rally Colorado.

The Super Production (SP) class, a new category in the 2009 Rally America series, features minimally modified, production-based cars. The SP class features much more restrictive regulations on modifications than the Open Class, where Block has been driving for the past three seasons. The SP Subaru features a stock engine, stock gearbox and very limited body shell modifications.

"It will be a big challenge to just get in and drive that car, the handling and power will be different and I won't be able to be as aggressive with it," explained Block. "But with Travis [Pastrana] having locked-up the Rally America Championship already, I have no pressure to win. We can treat this outing as an extended testing and development session for the SP car, but of course I'll be trying my best to keep up with my usual Open class competitors!"

Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana mathematically secured his 4th consecutive Rally America National Championship with a win at last month's Ojibwe Forests Rally. Pastrana and his co-driver Christian Edstrom will enter Rally Colorado with no pressure and have vowed to drive flat-out to put on a show for their fans this weekend. Rally Colorado is based in the picturesque resort town of Steamboat Springs, just 150 miles into the mountains west of Denver. The rally includes over 100 miles of fast, high-altitude gravel roads that are dusty when dry and notoriously slick when wet. The action starts Saturday morning and runs through Sunday afternoon. Fans can follow the rally live at www.rally-america.com and view daily SRT USA photo and news updates at rally.subaru.com

Follow Subaru Rally Team USA on Twitter: www.twitter.com/srtusa
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, Alpinestars, Motul, Exedy, GReddy and Vermont SportsCar. Visit www.subaru.com/rally  for Subaru Rally Team USA photo galleries, news and team information.

Subaru Driver Travis Pastrana Secures 4th Consecutive Rally America National Championship with Win at 2009 Ojibwe Forests Rally

September 1, 2009  - Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana has mathematically secured his fourth consecutive Rally America National Championship with a dominating win at the Ojibwe Forests Rally in northern Minnesota this weekend. Pastrana and his co-driver Christian Edstrom cruised to victory in their 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX STI after several of their closest rivals hit trouble. The win, his fifth of the season, hauled in sufficient championship points to place Pastrana mathematically out of reach to his closest challengers and thus securing his fourth consecutive Rally America national title. Pastrana has won each of his Rally America championships (2006-2009) behind the wheel of a Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car.

"It is game-on for the next two rallies," said Pastrana at podium. "It's great to drive without any pressure. A lot of the other drivers have had a hard season and bad luck, but things have just gone my way. My Subaru Impreza WRX STI has been perfect all year. It just works for me at every rally, it's easy to drive and lets me focus on winning.

"Travis really has transitioned into rally like fish to water ever since his first event with Subaru in 2004," said James Han, motorsports marketing manager at Subaru of America, Inc. "To think that he has earned four consecutive national titles under Subaru Rally Team USA is all testament to Travis' skills as a rally driver, thorough preparation by our team partner Vermont SportsCar, and consistent performance capability of the Impreza WRX STI regardless of terrain or driving condition.

The Ojibwe Forests Rally featured over 130 miles of technical, sandy gravel, forest roads in northern Minnesota, around the town of Bemidji. The event is a favorite amongst rally drivers for its demanding fast and flowing roads and numerous stages run in darkness of night.

The rally began with a duel between Pastrana and his Subaru Rally Team USA teammate Ken Block. Entering the Ojibwe Forests Rally, only Block had a mathematical chance to catch Pastrana in the standings but needed to secure a win to keep his hopes alive. After the first two stages, the highly competitive friends and rivals were separated by just seconds. The challenge however was cut short on stage three when Block impacted a large rock while cutting the inside of a corner that launched his Subaru off the road, hitting a tree and rolling to DNF. Both Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino were unharmed in the crash. With Block out of the picture and several of his closest challengers experiencing small problems of their own, Pastrana found himself with a healthy lead early in rally. The driver of the #199 SRT USA car backed off his pace but was still able to win all but three of the event's fifteen competition stages.

In 2nd place overall for the majority of the event was the third Subaru Rally Team USA entrant of Dave Mirra and co-driver Derek Ringer, driving a 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX STI in the Super Production class. Mirra drove one of his best events of his young rally career, consistently finishing each stage ahead of the rest of the field and chasing Pastrana while maintaining a healthy lead in the Super Production class. However, on the penultimate stage Mirra's car suffered an electrical issue that brought his car to halt, ending his run to the podium prematurely. "Everything was going our way and I was driving really well so it's unfortunate not to finish and get the result on paper," said Mirra. "My Subaru was running great until that [electrical] problem forced me out of the event. But that's rally, anything can, and does, usually happen."

Follow Subaru Rally Team USA on Twitter: www.twitter.com/srtusa
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, Alpinestars, Motul, Exedy, GReddy and Vermont SportsCar. Visit www.subaru.com/rally  for Subaru Rally Team USA photo galleries, news and team information.

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