The 2008 Rally America national Championship season ends with a traditional fall classic, the Lake Superior Rally in Michigan’s rugged upper peninsula. With fast gravel roads, deep rutted sand, the likelihood of snow, and even a tarmac stage thrown into the mix, the Lake Superior Performance Rally (LSPR) is representative of all the elements rally drivers face throughout a rally season!

LSPR is based in the town of Houghton, Michigan at the base of the Keweenaw Peninsula, which extends into Lake Superior for approximately 60 miles. Houghton is the gateway to thousands of square miles of waterways and forests and it is also the largest town in the area, making it a cultural and recreational hot spot of Michigan’s “copper country”. The roads are both fast and technical, requiring careful tire choices by the drivers. Rally teams must pay close attention to road conditions as they can change quickly due to the legendary unpredictable fall weather.

After surviving some challenges early in the season, Subaru Rally Team USA driver and action sports star Travis Pastrana has secured the Gold Medal at X Games 14, weathered the development of the new 2008 Subaru WRX STi rally car through the second half of the season, and mathematically locked up his Championship last month at Rally Colorado.

Even though Travis Pastrana has clinched the top spot, 2nd through 5th place is up for grabs with a 14 point spread between 5 drivers. It is anyone’s rally to see who will take the final two spots on the podium.

19 year-old Kyle Sarasin has emerged as the brightest new Rally America star, chasing Travis Pastrana for the win at the recent Rally Colorado and coming up short by only 4 seconds after 2 days of rallying. Kyle’s consistent strong performances have netted him 2nd overall in the national point standings and he looks to battle Subaru Rally Team USA’s second driver, Ken Block for the runner-up spot in the championship.

Ken Block has experienced a rash of DNF’s over a span of four rallies, foiling his championship efforts. In a heart breaking moment, Ken, despite a 24 second lead, crashed on the last stage of the Ojibwe Forests Rally, handing the win to his teammate. Block experienced more heartache at Rally Colorado where a broken power steering fitting cost him an 11-minute time penalty and a 5th place finish.

In the Production GT Class, Pat Moro holds a commanding 74-point lead over Ropert Borowicz. Barring any significant penalty points, Pat should be spraying champagne as the class champion at LSPR.

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 throughout the country in many different weather and road conditions. Throughout the year, teams take on everything from snow-covered trails of Michigan, forest-logging roads in Minnesota, coastal paths of the Pacific Northwest, fast but rocky challenges of New England, to the high-altitude roads of Northwest Colorado, and finally to it’s conclusion in the fall splendor of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Photo by Lorne Trezise



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