Colin McRae/Nicky Grist ended X Games
Rally in spectacular fashion by rolling
over completely and still finishing
in second place.
After eight rally stages in the California desert north of Los Angeles on Wednesday, Pastrana/Edstrom followed McRae/Grist by only half a second. Three teams were fighting over third place. That made critical Saturday’s performance in the Super Special on the track laid out around and through the Home Depot Center.
The drama building around the Super Special mounted through the Thursday and Friday practice sessions. The cement barriers delineating the course outside the Center were unforgiving, and service crewmen worked long hours replacing bumpers and noses and straightening out chassis components. Although most of the SOA-sponsor teams fielded clean-looking cars for the last stage on Saturday, some of them were riding on bent chassis.
Friday night, Travis Pastrana put SRT USA crew members and fans even more on edge by his Moto X Best Trick performance – the first-ever double back flip in X Games.
A large crowd lined the areas overlooking parts of the course and filed into the dusty stadium for the final stage. Each car had one lap, starting at one corner of the stadium bowl and driving through it a second time for the checkered flag. That meant negotiating the 150-foot entrance ramp and the jump in the stadium twice. And that’s where the event’s final drama took place.
The cars ran the course one at a time and in inverse order to their standings. Excellent drives were made throughout the field, with times ever decreasing. The stadium crowd could see the cars on the rest of the course on the jumbo monitor at one end of the stadium.
The crowd watched as Pastrana/Edstrom in the second-to-last car negotiated the course quicker through many of the corners than the previous cars. The #199 Subaru had the fastest time at the end of its run.
Then came McRae/Grist. Intermediate timings showed the gold Subaru increasingly faster than the #199 and leading as it entered the stadium the second time. Then, making the last jump with a one-second lead, McRae/Grist astounded the audience.
“We just tried to turn too sharply in the air,” said Nicky Grist afterwards. “This was definitely the fast way around the track, and we had tried it before in practice. In fact, it would have worked this time except the tire rolled off the wheel and caused us to flip.”
The gold car rolled over completely, settling on four wheels. The team took off and still placed second, only 0.52 seconds behind Pastrana/Edstrom. SRT USA team Block/Gelsomino placed third.
James Han, Manager of Motorsports for SOA, commented, “X Games 12 vaulted rally as a sport to the next level and also exposed it to a new audience. SRT USA generated a surge of positive responses and wide-reaching excitement through our X Games involvement, and I’m looking forward to building on this momentum.”
Subaru Rally Team USA driver/co-driver Travis Pastrana/Christian Edstrom celebrate
their victory at the first X Games Rally.
Read about X Games 13 Rally here.
Visit www.rally-america (“Latest News” tab under “News & Features”).