Pastrana Makes First WRC Start in '08 at Rally Argentina this Weekend
Date: Monday, April 14 @ 11:44:05 CDT
Topic: Racing News
Defending Rally America national champion Travis Pastrana has just started the legendary Rally Argentina, round four of the World Rally Championship, and the first event of Subaru Rally Team USA's 2008 Production World Rally Championship (P-WRC) program.
Over the next three days, Rally Argentina will include 21 gravel stages equaling well over 200 competition miles. Pastrana is at the wheel of an FIA Group N specification 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI prepared by American squad Vermont SportsCar and will have former WRC Champion co-driver Derek Ringer at his side for the event.
"We learned a lot last year in our three P-WRC events, especially how hard and demanding WRC rounds are compared to our shorter Rally America events," explained Pastrana. "My biggest hurdle, of course, is creating my own stage notes, which we don't do in Rally America events and I have limited experience with. But I've had a bit of practice and have a few WRC events under my belt now.
"Most importantly, I now have Derek Ringer co-driving for me. He has all the experience any driver could want, and he should be a big help to me. Just like last year, we are aiming for a finish rather than a podium, but I'd be very happy with a result in the top six."
Rally Argentina is only the fourth WRC event in Pastrana's young career, after successfully finishing all three P-WRC events he entered in 2007. Pastrana's bes finish in 2007 was 5th overall amongst the P-WRC contenders at 2007 Corona Rally Mexico. He then finished 10th and 11th at Rally Argentina and Rally Great Britain, respectively.
Subaru Rally Team USA is attending Rally Argentina with the same American-based team of technicians and management that handles their assault on the Rally America National Championship.
Rally Argentina is based in Villa Carlos Paz, a small lakeside town near the large city of Cordoba. The all-gravel event is known for rough roads and dramatic water crossings. Several of the stages are run at high altitude, some approaching 2200 meters, where the thin air saps the cars of power.
Speeds are typically high, but the stages feature numerous bumps and dips that will test the rally car's suspension and the driver's mettle. Large rocks embedded in the road surface have been known to tear wheels off and will test even the most experienced drivers. These challenges are all compounded by the highly unpredictable weather which typically includes fog and rain.