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Old 02-04-2008, 06:15 PM   #1
ricochet
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Default Sno*Drift 2008 Rally Report

Sno*Drift 2008 Rally Report
Story: Jeff Zurschmeide | Subiesport Magazine
Photos: Lars Gange -- rally.subaru.com

More pics at:
http://www.drivingsports.com/blog/2008/01/...ift-2008-r.html

In Rally Racing, it’s not enough to have the best ride and the best service crew, and the best in-car team. You can’t just set ‘em up and knock ‘em down in this business, because anything can happen at any time. After the top teams fought the 2007 season to a razor’s edge finish, the 2008 season has started up again in the same thrilling, unpredictable fashion.

Subaru Rally Team USA stars Travis Pastrana and Christian Edstrom took the final event win of the 2007 season with just a 3.5-second margin of victory. With that win came the Rally America National Championship for the year. In the brief off-season, Pastrana competed in the WRC Production class at Rally GB and finished a humbling 11th. So he’s back to the 2008 Rally America series with two challenges in front of him - to defend his back-to-back championships in a series that gets tougher every year, and to hone his skills for further WRC opportunities.

Australian Andrew Pinker and co-driver Robbie Durant finished the 2007 season in second place, a total of 1 minute, 33.5 seconds behind Pastrana at the critical final event. Pastrana’s SRTUSA teammates Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino finished the season in third place. The wild card in 2007 was the team of Tanner Foust and Chrissie Beavis, who ended the season in fantastic form. If the duo had not missed a critical pair of events due to Foust’s drifting schedule, the championship might have been theirs.

But 2008 is starting out with much more than a repeat of the same closely-matched teams. A number of strong teams have moved into the Open class to contend for the win. Leading the pack are two-time Production GT champions Matt Johnson and Jeremy Wimpey. With their extensive experience in the Subaru WRX, look for Johnson/Wimpey to make a serious challenge this year.

18 year old Kyle Sarasin and co-driver Mikael Johansson are moving up to Open class from Group 5, where they won the 2007 rookies of the year and took second in the Group 5 national championship race. The young standouts are certain to put some pressure on the top teams this year in their 1994 Impreza. The dark horse teams of Piotr Wiktorczyk and Martin Brady in a 2002 WRX or Will Corry and Alexander Kihurani in a 2006 STI may also make an impression on the standings this year.

Also in the hunt is the Canadian team of Antoine L’Estage, paired with top co-driver Nathalie Richard in a highly-modified Hyundai Tiburon. Fellow Canadian Andrew Comrie-Picard will again team with Marc Goldfarb to try for the championship in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

Coming in from the X Games world is BMX racing star Dave Mirra, who is teamed with veteran co-driver Alan Ockwell for the season. Mirra is driving a Subaru supported by Vermont SportsCar and will share service crew with SRTUSA, but is not a formal member of the factory team.

The new teams gunning for the top are joined by all the top finishers from 2007, so the field was thick going into January’s Sno*Drift event in northern Michigan. Conditions were typical - snow and ice, and lots of it.

To set the start order for the first event of the year, the teams of Pastrana/Edstrom, Block/Gelsomino, Foust/Beavis, and Pinker/Durant were subjected to a random draw. Foust/Beavis won the draw and elected to start first. Because of the fresh snow, going first is not necessarily a great advantage. Pushing aside heavy snow can slow a car, with later runners taking advantage of a packed surface. "We were so slow, I can't believe it," said Foust.

It didn’t take long for the frozen conditions to claim their first victim. Pinker/Durant lost the engine in their STI a scant mile into the very first stage, taking them out of the rally and perhaps out of the running for the top spot in 2008.

Pastrana/Edstrom won the first stage of the year, besting second place L’Estage/Richard by 8.6 seconds on the 7.17-mile run. Block/Gelsomino were another 1.1 seconds behind the Canadians, with a wide gap on fourth place Foust/Beavis, likely because of their charitable snowplowing service.

Sno*Drift begins on Friday afternoon, with the first car taking the stages just prior to 3 p.m. Stages continue well into the chilly night; the first car starts the sixth and final stage of the day around 8 p.m. Pastrana/Edstrom won three of the day’s stages, Block/Gelsomino another two, and Comrie-Picard/Goldfarb won a single stage. At the end of day 1, Sno*Drift was shaping up to be another Subaru Rally Team juggernaut, and potentially the beginning of a dominating year for the defending champions. As the teams went to bed for the night, Pastrana/Edstrom led the rally by 45 seconds, followed by Block/Gelsomino, and with L’Estage/Richard in third place.

But a new day brings new chances, and on the slippery stages of a Michigan winter rally, anything can happen. In the morning, it looked as though the competition for the win would be between the SRTUSA cars. Block/Gelsomino won two of the first three stages, with Stage 8 going to L’Estage/Richard. But then on Stage 10, Block and Gelsomino’s luck ran out - the pair went off the road on a sharp left over a crest and found themselves high-centered on a frozen berm. "We just got sucked into the snow," Block said.

Block and Gelsomino lost 10 minutes liberating their car, succeeding just as Matt Johnson and Jeremy Wimpey stopped to help them. That delay took Block/Gelsomino out of the fight for the podium, and the stage win went to L’Estage/Richard. But as if to prove that they weren’t the sort to give up, Block/Gelsomino went on to win the next stage and the final four stages of the day.

On Stage 12, it was Foust/Beavis’s turn to get stuck in the snow, and the delay cost the team about 7 minutes, dashing their podium hopes for the event.

Although their teammates were down in the standings, the rally was well in the pockets of Pastrana/Edstrom. Going into Stage 16, the champs had a 2 minute margin on the rest of the field. But in order to win, you have to make it to the end - and there is no allowance for bad luck. “With a huge lead and just a few miles to the finish, we hit a deer at over 60 mph. It all happened so quickly, we were shocked. The car sustained heavy damage and couldn't continue. Amazingly bad luck,” Pastrana said. Thankfully, Pastrana and Edstrom were not hurt. It’s safe to assume that the high-speed collision didn’t do the deer any good.

With both Block/Gelsomino and Pastrana/Edstrom out of contention for the podium, the field was opened to those other cars who gave consistent performances throughout the event. Going into the final stage of the event, L’Estage/Richard moved into the lead. The pair had finished in the top 4 positions on 15 of the 16 stages of the rally, and won Stages 8 and 10. Comrie-Picard and Goldfarb held onto second place with top 4 finishes on 7 stages, winning only Stage 3.

In the end, Block and Gelsomino’s victories in the final four stages of the event couldn’t make up their deficit from Stage 10. The rally win went to L’Estage/Richard in their Hyundai Tiburon, followed by Comrie-Picard/Goldfarb in second place in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. “I have mixed feelings. I’m happy, but at the same time, I feel so bad for (Pastrana and Edstrom) because they did a great rally. They were the fastest, but we’ll take the win,” L’Estage said.

But the real news of the weekend was with Kyle Sarasin and Mikael Johansson. Coming up from a Group 5 Ford Focus to an Open class Impreza this year, the young duo gave an outstanding performance, consistently finishing each stage well up into the top 10. “Our game plan was to be consistent, try to stay in the race and get a top-10 finish. Some stuff happened, some people went out, and we ended up getting third overall,” Sarasin said. This result should put the sport’s leaders on notice - Watch your mirrors.

Fourth place went to Matt Johnson and Jeremy Wimpey in their first Open class event. With their prodigious Production GT experience and skill at carrying speed in a lower-powered car working for them, look for this team to move up onto the podium soon.

Block and Gelsomino finished the rally in fifth place.

In their first Rally America national championship event, Mirra and Ockwell finished 18th. Not a bad finish for any team’s first big event - to say nothing of an event held in knee-deep snow. With support from Vermont SportsCar and guidance from his friends at SRTUSA, look for Mirra to move up the standings this year.

The Production GT competition was intense, with 6 different teams claiming stage wins for the class. Travis and Terry Hanson won five stages in their 2002 WRX. The teams of Patrick Moro and Mike Rossey in a 2002 WRX and Todd Moberly and Rebecca Greek in a 2003 WRX each won four stages.

The teams of Evan Cline and Jason Grahn (1991 Mitsubishi Galant VR4), Bryan Pepp and Jerry Stang (2002 WRX), and Nathan & Brandye Conley (2003 WRX Wagon) each took one PGT stage win. When the scores were totaled up, it was Moro/Rossey in first place, followed by Pepp/Stang and then the team of Robert and Mariusz Borowicz, who earned third place with a consistent performance in their 2002 WRX.

The Group 5 and overall 2WD victory went to Christopher Duplessis and Martin Headland in their 1990 Volkswagen GTi, followed overall by Jan and Jody Zedril, who took an impressive Production class win in their 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer ES. No Group 2 or Group N cars finished the national portion of the event.

Sno*Drift is unique as the only true winter rally in the Rally America national season. Results here are not necessarily indicative of the rest of the year, but it’s clear that there are more qualified teams ready to wrestle for the season championship than there were in 2007. This is good news for rally fans, because it means that anything can, and probably will, happen in the months to come. Stay tuned for Round 2 of the 2008 Rally America National Championship, the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, scheduled for February 22 and 23 in Salem, Missouri.
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Last edited by ricochet; 03-05-2008 at 03:46 AM.
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Old 02-04-2008, 06:17 PM   #2
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1st.
and thats hot. Wish I had a SWRT Prodrive car.
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Old 02-04-2008, 07:01 PM   #3
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Default New Car for 2008

Hey does anyone know when Subaru Rally Team USA is getting there '08 Impreza, I heard SWRT is getting theres mid season. Plus how is it that the old Impreza won this when Hatchbacks are suppose to be so much better? Is the competition not as stiff here in the US?
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Old 02-04-2008, 07:11 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by gifters View Post
Hey does anyone know when Subaru Rally Team USA is getting there '08 Impreza, I heard SWRT is getting theres mid season. Plus how is it that the old Impreza won this when Hatchbacks are suppose to be so much better? Is the competition not as stiff here in the US?
Nothing announced regarding the SRT updates to 08. Though, i expect we'll see them pretty soon.

It's because it's mainly Subaru vs. Subaru over here. Even when there's an EVO or Hyundai in the mix, they're older cars than what folks are fielding in the WRC. There, the Citroen Xsara, Ford Focus, Peugeot 307 are the cars to beat (all small hatches...none available in the US--including the Focus.) Design considerations for the STI are based on world demands, not USDM focused, per se.

Ryan Douthit
Subiesport Magazine
http://www.subiesport.com
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Old 02-04-2008, 07:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by gifters View Post
Hey does anyone know when Subaru Rally Team USA is getting there '08 Impreza, I heard SWRT is getting theres mid season. Plus how is it that the old Impreza won this when Hatchbacks are suppose to be so much better? Is the competition not as stiff here in the US?
Ken block had mentioned that they are working on the new cars...but didnt say when they were going to debut
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Old 02-05-2008, 12:04 AM   #6
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yeah they already made a few of the 08 hatchbacks... john buffum rolled one of them in testing...
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:51 AM   #7
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Dave Mirra is not a BMX racer. Bicycle stunt (aka Freestyle) rider.





Excellent write up, tho.
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Old 02-05-2008, 11:00 AM   #8
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thast funny...Dave Mirra is now rallying
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Old 02-05-2008, 11:10 AM   #9
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Pretty funny that Mirra is rallying. I'm sure he'll be good that guy's got some crazy drive. Full schedule too between rallying, riding, owning his own bike co, tv appearances and w/e else.
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Old 02-05-2008, 12:25 PM   #10
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Dave Mirra did race BMX in his past...
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Old 02-05-2008, 12:54 PM   #11
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I wouldn't be surprised to see Mirra replace Pastrana on the SRTUSA when Travis jumps up to WRC competition in a couple years.
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:29 PM   #12
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The sno-drift rally was a really good time, although one of the stages was shut down due to some A-Hole snowmobiler's disrupting the course. It was my first time attending this year & it was well worth it, I just wish I could have been driving it.

Here's the vid of Pastrana hitting the deer, it was an unfortunate accident but so entertaining to watch >:]

http://www.autoblog.com/2008/01/30/v...-2008-snodrif/

There are some good clips on you tube as well:
http://youtube.com/results?search_qu...&search=Search
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricochet View Post
I wouldn't be surprised to see Mirra replace Pastrana on the SRTUSA when Travis jumps up to WRC competition in a couple years.
I wouldn't be surprised if he surpassed a load of people in the NA rally scene. He's got incredible coordination and if that translates over to rally...


BMX FTMFW, btw.
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:35 PM   #14
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Dave Mirra did race BMX in his past...

Maybe many many years ago, but not as a pro. Its just neat to see someone that was as big an influence on my riding style (been riding for 20+ years) start rallying.
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Old 02-05-2008, 03:51 PM   #15
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thast funny...Dave Mirra is now rallying

I might be to hard on the guy....but if you call the driving Mirra did at the sno*drift ralling....we're all in trouble. I know he's new...but damn that dude was soooo slow. Seriously I could of took him in my daily driver.

Oh to be rich and hop right into open class. He's living my dream, good for him.
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Old 02-06-2008, 10:16 AM   #16
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thast funny...Dave Mirra is now rallying
That kinda funny but, Mirra come on, he can't be doing based on skill alone. Its a great PR stunt though.
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Old 02-08-2008, 04:17 AM   #17
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I dont think Pas will be SWRT WRC.
At 25 I would consider him in mid career . IMO he doesn't have it. It's easy when you don't have to worry about totaling a car. (Duval?)

As far as Mirra goes - X2 that cause he's to old.
Yes a few are older (Gronholm) but they can drive with their eyes closed just like Mirra could ride his bicycle with his eyes closed.25rstautoxr had it right "Oh to be rich ". Just a marketing attempt in a bad economy to get kids wanting an Imrepza for their 16th bday.

So many other drivers out their who deserve a "ride" more than them.

Someone correct me
but the US SWRT car and the WRC car are different? Maybe not HP but TQ????

Anyone got video of Pas in the WRC?
I would like to watch and compare him to other drivers.
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:21 AM   #18
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just a quick note on all of the above, i competed at Sno-Drift, this year it would seem Pastrana and block have found another gear, travis especially was walking away from the field, 2-3 seconds a mile faster than everyone, is a life time. Nobody could touch him all weekend. Block showed immense ability before being bitten by a snowbank. Both drivers must have reviewed themselves after their PWRC efforts and thought they had a lot of work to do. They both survived those events, they did not flourish. Indeed they and the sport of rallying in the US have a long way to go to be competitive at World level, but several of the right steps are being taken to improve the pace over here. Recce will be a pace improver as frankly commiting to blind notes in an open class car is suicidal these days. Recce also allows people like myself to pre-run the roads and become a little familiar with them, instead of having to previously competed to gain that experience. It closes the gap for those people who will be running the rally for the first time and prevents massive accidents happening, caused by a 'bad note', see the Coorado recap video on youtube. Jeff register is a prime example of a bad note, especially as all the open class cars ahead of him went off the road slightly on that corner. I look forward to the season returning to gravel and feel that a lot more names will be competitive for the top spots as mentioned in the leading article on this thread.

regards
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:07 PM   #19
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Great article.

Here are my shots from Sno*Drift.

http://public.fotki.com/nate49509/au...snodrift-2008/
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Old 02-11-2008, 01:43 PM   #20
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Hey does anyone know when Subaru Rally Team USA is getting there '08 Impreza, I heard SWRT is getting theres mid season. Plus how is it that the old Impreza won this when Hatchbacks are suppose to be so much better? Is the competition not as stiff here in the US?
as close as we came in 2000, rallying in America is still worlds away from what it sounds like you are used to seeing in the WRC. over here it's not as tight at the top so the car itself has less bearing on results. if you have a great talent behind the wheel in America you can still win over the big teams. note how close Will Corry came to shaking the Open Class cages of the works teams in Colorado last year driving a 2002 STi that was only prep'd to Production Class status. it's only a matter of time.
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:14 PM   #21
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Someone correct me
but the US SWRT car and the WRC car are different? Maybe not HP but TQ????

Anyone got video of Pas in the WRC?
I would like to watch and compare him to other drivers.
They are very much different.The us subaru rally team gets fully built stis off the showroom floor and modify them into a rally car (cage, seats, interior, bigger turbo, the whole 9 yards).The wrc cars are made almost completely by prodrive.They get a body shell from Subaru, strengthen it, but a cage in there then create their own flat 4 by hand, and a semi automatic gearbox by hand.Considering that the Us Rally cars cost maybe in the range of $80,000-$100,000, the Wrc car costs around $500,000-$600,000.No way pastrana is getting himself one of those cars haha.

Watch this, Its about the Subaru WRC.It is an amazing machine.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuVQ48o2sRc
Also
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFuV7...eature=related
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Old 02-13-2008, 11:55 AM   #22
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[quote=stopfast;21102224]Considering that the Us Rally cars cost maybe in the range of $80,000-$100,000, the Wrc car costs around $500,000-$600,000.No way pastrana is getting himself one of those cars haha.QUOTE]

the prices are not even close, wrc from prodrive new, $1,000,000, spares package $500,000, cost per day to run at event when insuring the car yourself and being competitive, i.e. changing tires at service $60,000/day. For Eugene Donnely to run one round of the tarmac series in Ireland, normally 3 days, $180,000 for just three days.

Now for pastrana's car, try $250,000-300,000 and your getting close, the engine alone in travis's car is almost half of your original budget. The gearbox alone is $25,000 with about $4000 per event service costs. It costs alot mor than you think to play in this little pond over here, if you want to be competitive at the top. Pastrana could afford to play at wrc level, but he just couldn't pilot the thing hard enough yet.
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Old 02-13-2008, 11:17 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by 25rstautoxr View Post
I might be to hard on the guy....but if you call the driving Mirra did at the sno*drift ralling....we're all in trouble. I know he's new...but damn that dude was soooo slow. Seriously I could of took him in my daily driver.

Oh to be rich and hop right into open class. He's living my dream, good for him.
Something I should have put into the story - Mirra's in Open class for the points, but he's driving a 2.5RS. So I wouldn't put any shame at all on Mirra for his performance - first time rallying, 2.5RS against the prepped STI and WRX teams, in the snow - he did fine, and he's going to be a good rally driver.

JZ
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:19 PM   #24
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[quote=willdh;21108967]
Quote:
Originally Posted by stopfast View Post
Considering that the Us Rally cars cost maybe in the range of $80,000-$100,000, the Wrc car costs around $500,000-$600,000.No way pastrana is getting himself one of those cars haha.QUOTE]

the prices are not even close, wrc from prodrive new, $1,000,000, spares package $500,000, cost per day to run at event when insuring the car yourself and being competitive, i.e. changing tires at service $60,000/day. For Eugene Donnely to run one round of the tarmac series in Ireland, normally 3 days, $180,000 for just three days.

Now for pastrana's car, try $250,000-300,000 and your getting close, the engine alone in travis's car is almost half of your original budget. The gearbox alone is $25,000 with about $4000 per event service costs. It costs alot mor than you think to play in this little pond over here, if you want to be competitive at the top. Pastrana could afford to play at wrc level, but he just couldn't pilot the thing hard enough yet.
ah! beat me to it.

i think it should be noted too that when Subaru first joined in the American Series as a works team years ago they brought over the WRCar Will and Stopfast are talking about. then found they didn't need that level of car to win and shipped it home for a MUCH more affordable modified Production car. they still won. and i believe that what Vermont Sports Car is turning out these days is much closer to that affordable replacement the factory team brought in place of that WRCar.
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Old 03-11-2008, 05:27 PM   #25
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" Pastrana competed in the WRC Production class at Rally GB and finished a humbling 11th."

tell me yer jokin... PLEASE
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