BMX legend and burgeoning rally driver Dave Mirra got his
first chance to drive a top specification Open Class Subaru rally car in
competition on the final day of last weekend’s Oregon Trail Rally, after
swapping cars with Monster Energy teammate Ken Block. Mirra was northing
short of impressive at the wheel of Block’s BFGoodrich Tires-shod 2007
Subaru Impreza WRX STI, netting a 3rd and a 4th fastest overall stage
time on two of the four competition stages run on Sunday. Block, who
was leading the Rally America National Championship points standings
entering Oregon ‘stepped-down’ to drive Mirra’s lower spec, non-turbo
Subaru Impreza.

The swap was possible only after Block and Mirra found themselves
officially out of the Oregon Trail Rally, round four of the Rally
America National Championship, after they each slid their usual rally
cars into ditches and became stuck off the road. Neither rally car
sustained damage and the duo had the option of re-starting the event the
following day for the final four stages of competition. Although they
could not score national championship points the roads and the
competition would be the same.

So the two friends kept things interesting by arranging a car swap with
each other! Block literally signed his top-spec Open class rally car
over to Mirra on Sunday with a message on the hood that read; “Congrats
Dave, it’s graduation day here’s your new car. Keep the shiny side
up!” Block then spent some time with Mirra pointing out a few of the
differences and unique features of his car before handing over the keys.
Block’s Subaru Rally Team USA backed Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car is
built to the limit of the Rally America Open Class rules, with nearly
double the power of Mirra’s ‘rookie spec’ Subaru. Block’s car is also
lighter and features a dog-engagement transmission enabling quicker,
clutch-less gear shifting.

Mirra was slated to begin driving this higher-spec rally car at the next
round in Pennsylvania (the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally, June
6-7th ) after having started off his rally career with a much lower
specification, non-turbo Subaru Impreza. After competing in five rallies
over the past six months Mirra recently earned a full unrestricted Rally
America competition license, allowing him the opportunity to drive a
much more powerful machine such as Block’s Subaru.

With a huge grin, Mirra and his co-driver Alex Kihurani jumped into
Block’s rally car and cautiously attacked the four remaining competition
stages on Sunday. “That Subaru was just amazing to drive, it’s a whole
different ball game than the car I’ve been learning with,” explained
Mirra. “I had to be really careful because I kept getting stuck in the
dust of cars that I was catching up with ahead of us, but we had a clean
run on one of the stages where I got 3rd fastest overall. It was an
amazing opportunity to get to test this car on some real rally stages
ahead of the next rally in Pennsylvania, where I’ll be driving this car
again. I’m still buzzing from this drive, it was incredible.”

Ken Block, with co-driver Alex Gelsomino, will debut the much
anticipated all-new 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI at the next round,
making his 2007 Subaru available to Mirra for the remainder of the 2008
season. Mirra will run a limited number of the remaining 2008 rally
events due to BMX competition schedule conflicts.

While Mirra was learning to tame Ken Block’s wildly powerful rally car,
Block had to contend with driving Mirra’s much slower Subaru through the
technical loose gravel roads of Oregon. “We had a good time with it,
even if it was painfully slow!,” said Block. “It was a good lesson in
how to keep momentum up through the turns, because the car just lacks
the raw acceleration of my usual ride. Most of all it made me really
appreciate my own Subaru! I was glad to see Dave didn’t put a scratch on
my car and he set a few very impressive stage times, so it was very
encouraging.”

Dave Mirra’s rally program is made possible with support from Monster
Energy, Vermont SportsCar, DC Shoes, BFGoodrich Tires, RECARO, Exedy,
PIAA, Motul, Greddy, Alpinestars and Subaru of America.

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