Subaru Rally Team USA (SRT-USA) announced today that it will enter its 23 year-old star rally driver, Travis Pastrana, in select World Rally Championship events in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Pastrana, in only his second season of rallying won the 2006 Rally America National Championship, becoming the youngest ever American champion. In addition to defending his Rally America title in 2007, Pastrana will drive a Subaru Impreza WRX STI–based rally car in three World Rally Championship (WRC) events in the Group N class. Then in 2008 and 2009 SRT-USA will officially enter Pastrana in the Production World Rally Championship (P-WRC), a support series that runs concurrent with the top tier World Rally Championship.
"Our recently announced 3-year extension with Travis Pastrana as a driver for Subaru Rally Team USA shows our commitment to Travis, the Rally America National Championship, and the sport of Rally", said James Han of Subaru of America, Inc. "The prospect of developing a driving talent such as Travis with the goal of having an American compete successfully at the WRC level is an exciting one. Although the team's primary objective in 2007 will be to retain the Rally America title in our Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally cars, evaluating development opportunities for Travis is also a key priority."
Travis Pastrana and his co-driver Christian Edstrom have dominated rallying in the USA this year driving their BFGoodrich Tire's-shod 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI. Pastrana earned four victories, four 2nd place finishes and a Gold medal at the inaugural X Games Rally event where he narrowly beat out his hero and WRC legend Colin McRae. Pastrana's speed and consistency helped him mathematically secure the 2006 Rally America National Championship on the penultimate round of the series. Pastrana at only 23 years-old becomes the youngest ever American rally champion, in only his second year of rallying.
Pastrana began rallying after first becoming a legend on two wheels. He has won a string Amateur National Motocross titles, won the World Freestyle Champion at 14 and is a former 125cc National Motocross and Supercross Champion. Additional achievements include earning Gold in Freestyle MotoX a record six times at the X Games and recently landing the first-ever double back flip in competition. Pastrana will compete against the World's top motorsports stars this weekend, representing the USA at the Race Of Champions in Paris.
The P-WRC is the next logical step in Pastrana's rally career. Pastrana will run on the same roads in the same events as World Rallying's top stars such as Petter Solberg and Sebastien Loeb. The P-WRC will serve as a stepping stone to the top tier WRC where Pastrana aims to become the first-ever American World Rally Champion.
Pastrana's WRC efforts will be managed by Subaru Rally Team USA through Vermont SportsCar, the same outfit that manages his Rally America Championship campaign. Vermont SportsCar has successfully run SRT-USAin 2006 with Pastrana and teammate Ken Block, finishing 1st and 2nd Overall, respectively, in the Rally America National Championship. The team will prepare the Group N Subaru Impreza rally cars for Pastrana's WRC efforts and is looking forward to becoming the first ever American based team with an American driver competing in the WRC.
The Colchester, Vermont based team hired former WRC Team Manager Derek Dauncey in late 2005 to help spearhead its WRC efforts. Dauncey was an instrumental part of the team that achieved four WRC Driver's Championships in a row with rally legend Tommi Makinen. "I have been lucky to work alongside a number of talented young drivers and I'm certain Travis has the potential to match and even surpass them," explains Dauncey. "His amazing success on two wheels speaks for itself and he is very dedicated to advancing his rally career. Its been a pleasure working with Subaru Rally Team USA thus far and I'm really looking forward to being a part of the team's next steps."
Subaru Rally Team USA is proudly supported by DC Shoes, BFGoodrich Tires, STI (Subaru Tecnica International), SPT (Subaru Performance Tuning), Alpinestars, Motul, PIAA, Recaro, Meguiars and Vermont SportsCar.
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