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FEATURE Rally America National Championship

Rd.1 Sno*Drift Rally
Event Bulletin
7 February 2006
Copyright © Subaru Rally Team USA  

The final day of the Sno*Drift rally was a great success for SRT USA, with Travis Pastrana and Christian Edstrom clinching 2nd place overall, and Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino in the sister car not far behind in fourth overall. There was no lack of action on the stages or at the Service Park which, for Saturday, was based out of Atlanta.

Friday - Day 1
Weather: Sunny with some clouds
Temperature: 40's
Road Surface: Wet snow and ice

SRT USA Leads Sno*Drift Rally with a 1, 2 lead!
It was an excellent Day One for Subaru Rally Team USA. Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino had a fantastic day running smoothly through the seven stages and finishing first overall, slightly ahead of teammates Travis Pastrana and Christian Edstrom. With limited experience driving in the snow, Travis focused on staying out of the snow banks and running a clean race to the finish line. There is no question that Christian's experience in winter conditions helped Travis maintain pace and a top position as the ice froze Friday night. With only a seven second gap separating the two SRT USA cars in the top spots, it will be interesting to see what happens as the boys battle it out tomorrow!

Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino, who entered the Maine Winter Rally back in December, have recently been through similar conditions to those present this weekend. This definitely helped out as they navigated the icy woods. Both Ken and Travis are very excited for the re-start tomorrow which takes place at 9AM in Atlanta.

Conditions were very tough and slippery today, with temperatures well into the 40's for most of the afternoon. Slushy patches existed in spots, but for the most part the wet snow settled down and packed in to glazed, wet ice. This only got worse as the temperatures dropped into the evening hours, re-freezing the roads. Add that to repeat stages and fifty rally cars spinning their tires, and you get the idea.

Copyright © Subaru Rally Team USA  

A promising newcomer on the circuit was car #606, Andrew Pinker from Australia with co-driver Robbie Durant in a 2004 WRX STI. With significant rally experience from other parts of the world, Andrew for the last few years has been running the Spanish Championship. Speaking modestly about his abilities in the snow, the Aussie didn't take long to adjust- clearing a stage win by almost 30 seconds! After Friday's stages Pinker and Durant ended the day third overall, even after being assessed a thirty second time penalty. Tomorrow brings a whole new bag of tricks with new stages and new conditions. Currently the forecast is calling for temps in the mid thirties with snow or rain. More from Michigan tomorrow!

Saturday - Day 2
Weather: Sunny and beautiful
Temperature: 40's
Road Surface: Ice and slushy snow

Copyright © Subaru Rally Team USA  
On the first run through one of the longest stages on the US Circuit, a twenty five miler, both Travis and Ken had significant issues. Ken and Alex slammed a snowbank, causing moderate damage to the nose of their STI. Travis stopped to assist them, hooking up his tow rope and yanking his buddies back onto the road. Shortly thereafter, Travis ran over a rock in the road, immediately flattening both right tires. Thirteen miles into a twenty five mile stage, you can imagine the predicament with only one spare. "The car would just not turn left!" Travis exclaimed at service. Christian added, "you know it's bad when you hear both flatten from inside the car." Replacing the right front, they ran the remaining miles on shreds in the rear. At the end of SS10, both #199 and #43 lost approximately six minutes each, dropping them down to fourth and fifth.

Tanner Foust and Scott Crouch had a fantastic day driving their Production GT WRX to a third place overall finish. Originally from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Tanner is no slouch in these conditions with plenty of experience navigating the snowy, mountainous roads of the west. The event was won by Andrew Comrie-Picard and Rod Hendricksen from Canada, who also have significant experience in snow. Andrew kept it on the road pushing hard earlier in the day, then relaxing his pace once he established a comfortable lead.

Copyright © Subaru Rally Team USA  
Other noteworthy Subaru Championship Cup entrants included Andrew Pinker and Robbie Durant in their 2004 WRX STI. They started the event strong and quickly regained the lead this morning, at one point being up over thirty seconds. Two snowbank encounters, however, resulted in over twenty minutes of digging, erasing their hopes of a win or podium finish. Patrick Moro and Paula McGarvey in car #59 had great results, running their Production GT WRX up to a sixth place overall finish, second in the Production GT class. Henry and Cindy Krolikowski in a 2000 WRX also managed well at this event, finishing fifth overall. Eight out of the top ten finishers were Subarus at the first rally of 2006!

Next up in the Championship Series is 100 Acre Wood based out of Salem, Missouri. Weather is a huge unknown at that event as well. Snow is not likely looking at current trends, but certainly not out of the question as this next rally will take place at the end of February.

Thanks for following the race on!

Pos No. Driver Co-Driver Manufacturer Class Total
1 20 Andrew Comrie-Picard Rod Hendricksen Mitsubishi O 2:39:05.6 0.0
2 199 Travis Pastrana Christian Edstrom SUBARU O 2:40:16.8 01:11.2
3 429 Tanner Foust Scott Crouch SUBARU PGT 2:40:37.4 01:31.8
4 43 Ken Block Alex Gelsomino SUBARU O 2:41:49.8 02:44.2
5 44 Henry Krolikowski Cindy Krolikowski SUBARU O 2:46:50.0 07:44.4
6 59 Patrick Moro Pamela McGarvey SUBARU PGT 2:49:32.5 10:26.9
7 27 Chris Gilligan Joe Peterson Mitsubishi O 2:53:43.6 14:38.0
8 153 Eric Langbein Jeremy Wimpey SUBARU PGT 2:54:17.4 15:11.8
9 606 Andrew Pinker Robbie Durant SUBARU N 2:59:06.3 20:00.7
10 133 Tom Young Jim LeBeau SUBARU PGT 3:01:11.9 22:06.3
11 616 Norman LeBlanc Keith Morison SUBARU PGT 3:04:00.3 24:54.7
12 67 Bryan Pepp Jerry Stang SUBARU PGT 3:04:24.0 25:18.4
13 93 Bob Olson Ryan Johnson SUBARU PGT 3:05:08.9 26:03.3
14 12 Wojciech Okula Adam Pelc SUBARU PGT 3:07:20.7 28:15.1
15 98 Michael Merbach Jeff Feld Volkswagen P 3:13:24.2 34:18.6
A : Group A / N : Group N / O : Open Class / G5 : Group 5 / G2 : Group 2 / P : Production / PGT : Production GT

Venue Info
Sno*Drift is always the first event of the season, and stays true to its name by being held in snowy upper Michigan. It is cold, icy, windy and harsh  but the teams love it. Being on snow, it's the only event of its kind during the entire season. The roads can be incredibly slippery, catching drivers off guard, and makes for great spectating. Based out of Atlanta, Michigan - an extemely popular location for snowmobiling, the event stretches over two days and starts this year on January 27th. At this time of the year northern Michigan is very cold and can see huge lake effect snowfalls. Expect freezing winter temperatures throughout the weekend.

Friday, January 27th, 2006
8:00am-10:00am Practice Stage
1:00pm-3:00pm Parc Expose - Lewiston > Kneeland Street
2:31pm First car starts day 1 - Lewiston > Kneeland Street
4:40pm (75 min) Service - Lewiston
8:30pm First car finishes day 1 - Lewiston

Saturday, January 28th, 2006
9:01am First car out - New Atlanta School, Atlanta
11:10am (70 min) Service - New Atlanta School, Atlanta
2:55pm (70 min) Service / Lunch - New Atlanta School, Atlanta
7:20pm First Car Finishes - Hillman Community Center
9:15pm Scores & Awards - Hillman Community Center

Atlanta, Michigan
January 27-28, 2006
Stage Miles: 111
Total Mileage: 339
Total Stages: 16
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