Subary Rally CarsThe battle for the 2007 Rally America National Championship title remains intense as the top rally drivers in the country – all driving Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally cars – head to Bemidji, Minnesota for the Ojibwe Forests Rally, on Aug. 24 and 25. Entering this weekend’s rally, the top three drivers in the 2007 Rally America standings are separated by just 12 points. After six of nine events, RockStar Energy Drink Syms Racing Rally Team driver Andrew Pinker and co-driver Robbie Durant, driving a Subaru Impreza WRX STI, lead the standings, 86-77, over Subaru Rally Team USA’s Travis Pastrana and co-driver Christian Edstrom – Rally America’s defending national champions – in their Subaru Impreza WRX STI.

Pastrana’s teammates, Ken Block and co-driver Alessandro Gelsomino, in their Subaru Rally Team USA Impreza WRX STI, are third, while Pinker’s RockStar Energy Drink teammates and X Games gold medalists Tanner Foust and Chrissie Beavis are fourth with 55 points with their Subaru Impreza WRX STI.
Pastrana and Edstrom, who claimed victory on the rugged Minnesota forest roads last season, are confident of their ability to repeat in 2007 but mindful of the Pinker/Durant threat. Pinker/Durant had a disappointing performances in the recent X Games arena, but the non-points exhibition is over and it’s back to the championship chase.

Besides competing for the Rally America National Championship, Subaru Rally Team USA has entered Pastrana/Edstrom in several World Rally Championship events for 2007. Pastrana competed in his first world rally at the 21o Corona Rally Mexico. He finished 15th overall and fifth in the Production World Rally Championship class (Group N) – the best finish by an American in a WRC event since John Buffum finished 3rd in the Acropolis Rally in Greece in 1988. He also ran Rally Argentina in the PWRC class, finishing tenth in class.

Pinker and Durant, who have won two of the first six races this year, are looking to regain their winning form following a disappointing fifth-place finish in New England in July. The duo enters Ojibwe with a completely rebuilt race car after sustaining significant damage to their No. 5 Subaru in the X Games competition. The 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI serves as the platform for the Open Class rally cars that Subaru Rally Team USA drivers Travis Pastrana and Ken Block pilot in the Rally America National Championship. In fact, each of their rally cars started life as a stock STI from a local Subaru dealership. Nearly every performance feature of the STI has been tested and developed through rally competition over the past decade in both the World Rally Championship and other national championships like the Rally America National Championship.

The STI is based on the Impreza WRX platform, but is completely re-engineered to provide even higher levels of acceleration, handling and braking performance that challenge the world’s best sports cars. The 2007 Impreza WRX STI is powered by a turbocharged and intercooled 2.5-liter DOHC boxer engine producing 300 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 300 lb-ft. of peak torque at 4,000 rpm. Mated to a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission, the engine can swiftly propel the Impreza WRX STI from a standstill or at speed.

Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of 600 dealers across the United States. Subaru makes the best-selling All-Wheel Drive car sold in America based on R.L. Polk & Co. new vehicle retail registration statistics.

Top Five Rally America National Championship Points (as of August 23):
Andrew Pinker 86
Travis Pastrana 77
Ken Block 74
Tanner Foust 55
Matthew Iorio 46

There are no ovals, pace cars or rain delays. Rally racing features real cars racing against the clock on closed-off sections of real roads that are usually unpaved and unforgiving. Events can last several days and cover hundreds of miles through rain, snow, day or night. This extreme test of skill, speed and endurance is what makes rally racing the world’s premiere and most exciting motor sport, and one that is quickly growing in North America.
Insiders and even casual fans consider rally drivers to be the best all around drivers on the planet. They must master every road surface and every weather condition while possessing the endurance and stamina needed to make it through
long hours and hundreds of miles. As the old saying goes, “Circuit racers see 10 turns 1000 times while rally drivers see 1000 turns one time!”
The key to a rally driver’s success is their co-driver. Rally drivers cannot practice the course and must rely on their navigator (or co-driver) to survive. The co-driver uses a computerized odometer along with a supplied route book to
communicate to the driver what lies ahead on the road. The route book describes in detail the road ahead and includes warnings for hazards such as cliffs, trees and junctions. Rally drivers determine what speed and angle to enter each turn
or crest in the road by listening to their co-driver’s constant instructions.
Gravel logging roads, mountain passes, well groomed forest roads – these are what make up the tracks for rally drivers. They are temporarily closed, actual public roads on which rally drivers can go flat out. With eight events held across the country, the Rally America Championship has a mix of everything from ice and snow in Michigan to super fast, smooth gravel in Pennsylvania. A typical Rally America Championship event will last two days and feature over 250 miles of roads split up into competitive stages and transit sections. The competitive stages, or “special stages” are where the action lies; these are timed sprints on roads that vary from 5 to 30 miles in length. The lowest cumulative time wins.
A rally car is the ultimate real world sports car; one that is capable of high speed and incredible handling on any road surface and in every weather condition. Fast yet strong, they must survive hundred of miles and several days of torture. As an additional challenge, all rally cars must be street legal, since they must traverse public roads with traffic between the competitive timed sections. The Rally America Championship features a lineup of cars that the average fan could buy from their local dealer, including Subaru WRX STis, Mitsubishi Evos, Ford Focuses and VW Golfs!
Watching rally on TV is a spectacle, but seeing it in person is an awe inspiring experience. Fans get to line the road, mere feet from the sliding, jumping and gravel spraying action. Fans can also freely check out the service areas where drivers and their teams repair the cars. Meeting your favorite driver and touching your favorite rally car are guaranteed. Tickets? Most rally events are totally free!



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