Sunday, January 31, 2010

X Gamer Pastrana Wins Sno-Drift Road Rally

Open class winner Subaru Rally Team USA's Travis Pastrana and Christian Edstrom drive toward the finish of the fifteenth stage of the 2010 Sno-Drift road rally just ouside Atlanta, MI.

January 31, 2010 - X games favorite Travis Pastrana got the full rock star treatment from the hundreds of spectators from across the Great Lakes region who turned out to watch him and his Subaru Rally Team USA partner Christian Edstrom win the 2010 Sno-Drift road rally race in Atlanta, Michigan. Road rally racing is considered to be an extreme sport and, according to the events sanctioning body Rally America, it will be a part of the 2010 Summer X-Games. Teams are required to drive street legal cars which in the case of the Sno-Drift means no studded tires.

With fans filling the designated spectator areas Pastrana, along with a field of international drivers, tackled the two day, twenty stage rally that wound its way through 130 miles of back roads in Montmorency county this past Friday and Saturday. Extremely icy road conditions caused by recent warmer than normal weather were the big news of the weekend. The three top open class finishers all made note of the treacherous conditions and their effect on the race. “It’s literally like driving on a frozen pond.” said driver William Bacon between stages “in sections, its gotta be two inches thick of just ice.”

Open class second place finishers the Rockstar sponsored Antoine L'Estage and
 Nathalie Richard drive toward the finish of the fifteenth stage of the 2010
Sno-Drift road rally just ouside Atlanta, MI.

“Trying not to get to aggressive was the key for us” said Pastrana who finished just over a minute and a half ahead of the Mitsubishi of second place finishers Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard and more than six minutes ahead of the third place team of William Bacon and Peter Watt. Pastrana credited Friday’s seven and a half mile long “Ranch” stage as one of the key sections of the race. “Every year it’s got that one stage that feels like a motocross track. It’s the only time that I can really feel like I can take my background from motocross and really be able to judge where the ruts are.” “It does come down a lot to just going with your gut and at the end of that stage we almost doubled our lead on Antoine (L’Estage). It went from really a push, push, push rally to a okay, lets not make a mistake and see if you can make up the ground kind of rally.”

Fan favorite Ken Block, driving one of the events few American made cars, won the rallies opening leg but was unable to finish Friday and dropped out of the competition after suffering suspension damage while transiting between stages. “Ken always comes out of the blocks hot” said Pastrana at the post race press conference “when he gets a lead he’s almost impossible to catch. We were curious to see how the Ford was going to hold up and how he was going to adapt to it.”

Two Wheel Drive competitors Chris Duplessis and Catherine Woods look for traction
 on the edge of a snowbank as they head towards the finish of the fifteenth stage of the
 2010 Sno-Drift road rally just ouside Atlanta, MI.

Other notable finishers included Terry and Tim Hansen who finished fifth overall and top in the Super Production class as well as two wheel drive driver Christopher Duplessis and his partner Catherine Woods. With almost all of the two wheel drive cars in the event finishing at the bottom of the final results list Duplessis surprised even Rally America officials finishing eleventh overall ahead of more then half the field four wheel drive cars that completed the race.

Rally America’s national championship series moves to Salem, Missouri February 26th and 27th for it’s second scheduled event, the 100 Hundred Acre Wood rally.  Complete results available at


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