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April 24, 2010 - Subaru drivers Travis Pastrana and Dave Mirra are ready for battle at this weekend's Olympus Rally round three of the six-event 2010 Rally America National Championship. The Olympus Rally features nearly 100 miles of sinuous, tree-lined logging roads near Aberdeen and Ocean Shores in Washington and includes one of the strongest entry lists yet for a North American rally.Defending four-time Rally America National Champion Travis Pastrana won the 2009 edition of the event and will be looking to repeat his success behind the wheel of his rally prepared 2010 Subaru Impreza WRX STI.Pastrana will have co-driver Christian Edstrom joining him while Subaru teammate Dave Mirra will sit, for the second time, with veteran co-driver Martin Headland.
The Olympus Rally returned to the Rally America calendar in 2007 after enjoying a memorable past as a stop on World Rally Championship calendar from 1986 to 1988. The town of Ocean Shores,nestled in the heart of Washington's Olympic Peninsula, serves as the headquarters for the two-day event. Weather patterns are incredibly difficult to predict due to the event's close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, and wet moist roads are as likely as dry dusty roads.Large rocks and logs are always a threat to those drivers who stray too far from the center of the road.
In anticipation of tackling the unique challenge of the Olympus Rally, Subaru Rally Team USA conducted an extensive test session in the Aberdeen area this week with team drivers Travis Pastrana and Dave Mirra. Utilizing a private gravel road, the duo tested and tuned suspension, engine and differential settings on their respective Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally cars.Pastrana also played the role of mentor for teammate Dave Mirra who is driving a more powerful Open Class specification car for the first time this season.Pastrana sat with Mirra on several runs and offered feedback and strategies for getting the most out the Open Class Subaru STI.
"It was really good to get in the car again and dial-in everything for the conditions at Olympus," explained Mirra."Travis (Pastrana) was able to point out a few things to me and help me get more from my Subaru.I'm adjusting to how good the car is and learning where the braking and handling limits really are. I feel more comfortable now,butthis season is still a learning year and I'm aiming to just increase my speed gradually.That said, I think we may be able to battle for a podium spot this weekend."
Pastrana is aiming for a strong finish at the Olympus Rally to get back atop the points standings after a mixed start to the season that included a win on the opening round but no result at the second round."I'm confident right now.The car is perfect and the pre-event testing really helps," said Pastrana. "We won the first rally and led the second rally before retiring due to some bad-luck, so if I can stay mistake-free I'm sure we can challenge for a win here at Olympus.The roads are so much fun and really technical in some places, which I really enjoy."
This Thursday marks the rally's ‘unofficial' start with an exhibition driving display and autograph session at Pacific Grand Prix racetrack in Kent, Washington, near Seattle.Then Saturday morning the over fifty entered rally teams will embark on eight stages covering over sixty miles of gravel roads. The rally concludes Sunday with an additional five special stages covering over forty miles.Fans can follow the rally with news and stage times at www.Rally-America.comand view end-of-day photo galleries and Subaru Rally Team USA news bulletins at www.rally.subaru.com.
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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.