Pastrana and his co-driver Derek Ringer drove their BFGoodrich Tires-shod 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI to victory by a mere 4.5 seconds over hard-charging privateer Subaru driver Kyle Sarasin. The win secures Pastrana the championship title with one round yet to run next month in Michigan.
Rally Colorado is based in the picturesque resort town of Steamboat Springs, just 150 miles into the mountains west of Denver. The rally includes over 100 miles of fast high-altitude gravel roads that are dusty when dry and notoriously slick when wet. The weather, however, for this year's edition of the event was nearly perfect with blue skies and sunshine for both days of competition.
After a season of consistent podium finishes and two victories, Pastrana needed only a sixth place or better finish at Rally Colorado to secure his third consecutive Rally America National Championship title. A win however was a distinct possibility when early on the first day several of Pastrana's closest challengers faltered. Pastrana then found himself with a healthy lead that he maintained through the remainder of the rally weekend. A cushion of nearly thirty seconds allowed him to drive just fast enough without taking risks, and Pastrana went on to win eight of eighteen total stages.
However, Pastrana's lead evaporated suddenly when, with just three stages to go, his Subaru hit a large rock that ripped apart the right rear tire, slowing him considerably. Pastrana's 31-second lead dropped to just 0.4 seconds, ahead of hard charging 20 year-old Kyle Sarasin piloting a privateer Subaru. Pastrana decided against conceding victory and pushed on the final two stages, beating Sarasin by just seconds on each stage and ending the rally with just a 4.5 second margin of victory.
"Any racer would have done the same, I just couldn't give it up," explained Pastrana. "After driving conservatively all weekend with a good lead, it was great to have a challenge at the end, it makes the win and the championship that much sweeter. This year definitely had its challenges like learning to work with a new co-driver and then driving a totally new rally car in the new 2008 STI, but Subaru along with my team made it all work out perfectly and the new 2008 STI was fast right out of the box."
"For Travis and Derek to win this rally represents a historic achievement for Subaru as it marks three consecutive Rally America titles for Travis with Subaru Rally Team USA," said James Han of Subaru of America, Inc.. "Having reclaimed the gold medal in X Games 14 Rally earlier this year, this season has been quite a testament to Travis' abilities and performance from the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI which our rally cars are based upon. With further potential in our cars yet to be developed, I'm looking forward to next year."