Block retains US Rally Championship lead
- 25th May 2007, 10:58am
Subaru Rally Team USA driver, Ken Block, endured the variable and wet conditions of the Pacific Northwest to finish fourth at the Olympus Rally, round four of the 2007 Rally America National Championship.
The strong points finish keeps Block in the lead of the hotly contested 2007 Rally America National Championship. Block's teammate, Travis Pastrana, the defending Rally America National Champion, retired from the event when his Subaru experienced a fuel problem.
The Olympus Rally took place on over 125 miles of demanding and technical dirt and gravel forest roads near Olympia, Washington. The unpredictable Pacific Northwest weather provided intervals of rain and sun all weekend, making the course conditions highly variable, and especially slick in spots.
Block and Pastrana each started the rally battling for the overall lead, but each faced stiff competition from over a half dozen of North America's best drivers. The competition was so close that midway through the first day of rallying, the top seven drivers were all within thirteen seconds of each other!
Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino soon lost touch with the top three after puncturing a tyre and struggling with a fogging windshield in the wet conditions. However, Block's speed in his Subaru Impreza WRX STI was enough to lock him into 4th Overall, which he maintained for the remainder of the rally.
"There was great competition here this weekend, but we just didn't have a clean run. I was a bit off the pace and then had to deal with the flat tyre among other things," explained Block. "We are now racing against so many fast and capable drivers that it's good to just come away with points, even if we didn't make the podium. We still lead the Championship and hope to keep it that way for the remainder of the season!"
Midway through day one Pastrana ran into some bad luck. A fuel starvation issue halted their Subaru mid-stage and the #199 car was towed by a fellow competitor out of the stage and to the service area. However, Pastrana and Edstrom arrived to the service area past the maximum allowable lateness, thereby forcing the duo to retire from the rally.
Subaru Rally Team USA heads next to one of the fastest, most challenging events in the Rally America Championship, the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR ), June 2-3. The legendary event features smooth, high speed, tree-lined gravel roads in and around Wellsboro, Pennsylvania.
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