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February 28, 2010 - Subaru driver Travis Pastrana was nearly untouchable at the 2010 Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, convincingly pulling away from a strong field before a seemingly innocuous driving error late in the event damaged his 2010 Subaru Impreza WRX STI and forced him to retire. Pastrana's Subaru teammate, BMX and X Games icon Dave Mirra, finished cleanly in 4th overall as he grew more familiar with his new higher-specification Open Class Subaru STI rally car. The 100 Acre Wood Rally, based in and around Salem, Missouri, was the second stop on the six-event 2010 Rally America National Championship series.
Named after the storybook home of Winnie the Pooh, the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood is set in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and features very high speeds on smooth and flowing gravel roads that are a favorite of many rally drivers. Pastrana, with co-driver Christian Edstrom, pushed hard from the first stage and pulled away from a very competitive field, winning the first seven stages of the event. After Pastrana's closest challenger, former Canadian Rally champion Antoine L'Estage, lost time with a problem early on the second day Pastrana found himself with a comfortable lead of over one-minute on rival and former Subaru driver Ken Block.
However, late in the event, Pastrana's run toward an expectant victory came to an abrupt halt. Damage to a suspension component on Pastrana's Subaru resulting from a hard rear-wheel impact into a ditch cut Pastrana's rally short. The incident occurred on the short spectator viewing stage held within a town park, and Pastrana was able to nurse his Subaru to finish the stage. Although they feverishly attempted a roadside repair, there was insufficient time for Pastrana and Edstrom to complete the effort nor was there a scheduled service stop where their Subaru Rally Team USA crew of mechanics could work on the car.
"This one is really tough to swallow. I had everything I needed to win here," explained a dejected Pastrana. "Our Subaru was perfect and totally unbeatable. We were able to just pull away from everyone on the first half of the rally and then just had to cruise to the finish. It was a small mistake; I cut a corner and then exited too wide and didn't know there was a drainage ditch there. I just can't believe it."
Pastrana's Subaru teammate Dave Mirra adopted the strategy of gaining experience in his car rather than showcasing outright pace and did so successfully, finishing a trouble-free 4th Overall. The 100 Acre Wood Rally was Mirra's first gravel rally in the higher specification 2010 Open Class Subaru after spending the 2009 season in the more restrictive Super Production class. Mirra was also sitting for the first time with veteran co-driver Martin Headland. "I'm very happy with the result. I wanted to just drive through this event and carefully learn the potential of the Open Class Subaru," explained Mirra. "This car has better handling, braking and power than anything I've ever driven so it's a lot to get used to and I still have to learn where the limits are. I took it easy and slowly increased my pace where I was comfortable."
"Although SRT USA departs from this event without the win we were seeking, the display of performance and reliability from our Open Class Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally cars leads me to believe we were in a league of our own," pointed out James Han, motorsports marketing manager for Subaru of America, Inc. "Kudos to the team for having developed such an impressive yet very drivable package. Travis drove an aggressive but comfortable pace and was in a great position for the finish if not for that untimely error. Dave took a sensible approach to learning his car and finished just one position from the podium."
Subaru Rally Team will compete next at the Olympus Rally, based in Olympia, Washington on April 23-25.
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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.