After a very close final two stages, Travis Pastrana edged out Kyle Sarasin for the win at the 2008 Rally Colorado. At the start of the day, Pastrana had a lead of approximately thirty seconds, and barring any problems, both he and Sarasin expected the Subaru Rally Team USA driver to win the event.

All day the pair traded times and stayed within about the same margin. On the third to the last stage, everything changed. The Elkhead Flats stage was run yesterday in the opposite direction and had claimed many car parts due to its rough nature. At the start of the stage, Travis was clear.

“We’ll have to stay careful and not get any punctures.” By the end of the stage, his words appeared prophetic. Partway through the stage, Travis and co-driver Derek Ringer got a puncture in a rear tire. Stopping to change the tire would have cost them the lead and so the pair pushed on to the finish, losing time with every inch leading to the finish of the stage.

When the time cards were collected and checked over, the rally had changed dramatically. Now Pastrana held a lead of only four tenths of a second over Kyle Sarasin, and two stages remained.

“It wasn’t really team orders,” said Pastrana of his choice to go all out for the win. “Any racer would have done the same, I just couldn’t give it up.”

At the end of the second last stage, Travis finished expecting to have resecured the lead but was floored to find out Kyle had only let 1.4 seconds slip away over the 6.25 mile long stage. The pair went on to the final stage, a re-run of the Middle Cog stage. At just over five miles, there was still ample opportunity to either win or lose the event here, and both drivers knew it.

“As we came to the finish,” recounted Mikael Johansson, co-driver to Kyle Sarasin, “both Derek and Travis were waiting out of their car, outside the control. They were looking at their watches, trying to see our time.”

In the end, Kyle was unable to make up the time to win the event, dropping another few seconds back.

“It was great to go flat out here. Earlier in the season you have to focus on being consistent, but now we can really go all out,” smiled Sarasin. “Travis and I were both nervous, both pushing on those last stages, it was awesome.”

Though he didn’t win, Kyle Sarasin was exuberant about his ability to keep pace with Travis, and it indicates how fast the young driver has become.

Third place nationally went to Lauchlin O’Sullivan and Scott Crouch in a PGT Subaru Impreza. The pair had stepped out to a secure third position yesterday, despite a failing clutch. After repairing the clutch overnight, the two continued on pace to the finish, managing the lead over Carl Jardevall and Chrissie Beavis. With their third place finish, O’Sullivan also won the PGT class in Colorado.

John Conley took top Group 5 honours, while Michel Hoche-Mong edged out Don Conley for top Group 2 finish.

Today’s action also made up the second regional event of the weekend. The Middle Cog 2 rally was won by Steve Bis and Brian Moody. The pair managed to open up a 50 second lead by the end of the day over second place finishers Erik Schmidt and Alix Hakala. Third place went to Michael Rose and Rebecca Greek. Both Bis and Rose also finished on the podium yesterday in the Middle Cog 1 regional and are thrilled to have had success again today.

Rally Colorado is the final round of the Colorado Rally Cup. Comprised of rally cross and hill climb events, the final event of the series has teams come to Rally Colorado. The series is a good feeder system and this rally saw many entries who were running their rally for the first time.

With the Colorado Rally Cup concluded, the overall champion is Jeremy Brown in his Group 2 Toyota MR2. In the Group 5 class, John Conley beat out Grant Hughes in the points for the class title. In the third class in the Colorado Rally Cup, the All Wheel Drive class, Steve Bis beat out Dave Kern. The co-driver championship goes to Simon Branton-Housley.

The finish for Travis Pastrana should secure the Subaru Rally Team USA driver his third consecutive title. Kyle Sarasin should move into the second position in the Rally America National Championship, with Ken Block only two points behind.

Rally car racing is considered the extreme sport of automobile racing and is often described simply as “real cars, real roads, real fast.” This all-season motorsport sees drivers and their co-drivers take modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over courses that cover more than 100 miles of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads.

The 2008 Rally America National Championship series consists of nine exciting events that take place in a range of challenging weather and road conditions in a season that extends from February to October. Throughout the year, teams take on everything from the forest logging roads in Minnesota, to the high-altitude Yampa River Valley in Northwest Colorado, and the Pacific Northwest forest and coast paths.

The final event of the Rally America series is the Lake Superior Performance Rally. Held in Houghton, Michigan October 17-18, 2008, the event is known for its unpredictable conditions.

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