Pinker takes second in US Rally Championship
- 29th October 2007, 9:12am
“Winning the Rally America championship last year for the first time was fantastic, but this year it feels much more special because we had to overcome tougher competition as well as battle back from some poor results earlier in the season," Pastrana said.
"To win the championship by winning the final event with such a close and fierce battle is just so gratifying.”
Entering the Michigan season finale, it would be winner take all as Pastrana and his Subaru Rally Team USA teammate Ken Block were tied in the overall championship standings, four points behind RockStar Energy Drink Rally Team driver, Australian Andrew Pinker.
When Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino were forced out of the contest on Day 1 after an off-road incident that damaged the front end of their car, the championship hopes of the Subaru factory team rested with Pastrana and co-driver Christian Edstrom.
Equally determined were the fiercely competitive Pinker and co-driver Robbie Durant, and their RockStar Energy Drink teammates Tanner Foust and co-driver Chrissie Beavis, the X Games gold medalists.
While Pinker – who had never competed on the challenging and changeable roads of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – suffered due to a lack of power on Day 1, Foust set blistering times early on.
Although Pinker rebounded with a stage win on Day 2, the effort wasn’t enough to catch Pastrana, and victory slipped away from Foust in the final stages when he suffered a flat tyre. In the end, Foust was second, just 3.5 seconds behind Pastrana. Pinker finished third.
“It was close, but no cigar,” said Pinker, who nonetheless claimed second overall in the driver’s championship in only his first full season of Rally America competition. “We’ll get it next year.”
Despite transmission trouble, Matt Johnson and co-driver Jeremy Wimpey put in a strong performance to win the Production GT class and secure the class championship.
In two-wheel drive competition, Doug Shepherd and co-driver Karen Wagner led the STPR field to finish first in their Group 5 2003 Dodge SRT 4.
Tom and Don Burress took the Group 2 event win in their Volkswagen Rabbit, while Arkadiusz Gruszka and Grzegorz Dorman finished first in Group N. Production class went to the sibling team of Jan and Jody Zedril in their Mitsubishi Lancer.
The 2008 Rally America National Championship season begins January 25-26 with the Sno*Drift rally in Atlanta, Mich.
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