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Subaru Rally Team USA driver and defending Rally America National Champion, Travis Pastrana, has won the Sno*Drift Rally, Round 1 of the 2007 Rally America National Championship.

The 23 year-old Subaru Impreza WRX STI driver overcame pressure from a stacked field of veteran drivers to win by a mere six seconds. Pastrana's Subaru Rally Team USA team-mate, Ken Block, finished the event sixth overall.

The Sno*Drift Rally is held on over 125 miles of snow and ice covered roads in northern Michigan. Constantly changing weather and road conditions, coupled with the fact that studded or spiked ice tyres are illegal in US rallying, make the rally extremely challenging.

The forest roads featured fresh snow over layers of ice, making tyre choice and road position huge factors in the results.

Pastrana and co-driver Christian Edstrom jumped out to an early overall lead after the rally's first day but their lead was anything but guaranteed. The field of drivers was so competitive that halfway through the rally there were seven different drivers claiming at least one stage victory!

Pastrana lost his lead late in the rally to snow driving specialist Tanner Foust, but a hard charging Pastrana regained the lead and the rally win on the final two stages, besting Foust by only 6 seconds at the finish!

"Tyre choice was so important here, and you couldn't make any mistakes with such an amazing group of drivers here," explained Pastrana. "We had to really push at the end and it was such a great close battle, we didn't even know we won until right before they handed us the champagne!"

The other Subaru Rally Team USA crew of Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino had a strong event setting consistent top five stage times and even netted a stage win on Saturday. But Block lost over a minute to the front runners on a difficult stage in the dark on Friday which prevented him from challenging for a podium.

"We put ourselves in cruise mode once we saw how large a gap there was in front of and behind us," said Block.

The nine event Rally America Championship, the X Games Rally and selected World Rally Championship events will keep Pastrana and Block very busy this year. Subaru Rally Team USA will head next to the 100 Acre Wood Rally in Missouri in late February, then on to the Corona Rally Mexico (a round of the World Rally Championship) in early March.

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