As Subaru Rally Team USA gears up for another X Games competition, looking back at the last three years is a good indicator of what can be expected in 2009.
Near the end of January 2009, eight of the anticipated 12 rally drivers for X Games 15 Rally were conditionally invited to compete. Among them were Subaru Rally Team USA (SRT USA) drivers Travis Pastrana, Ken Block, and Dave Mirra. Three others who remained on the list of invitees at the end of June were:
- Andrew Comrie-Picard
- Tanner Foust
- Matthew Johnson
In July, more drivers from the Rally America National Championship who held top positions in the championship were invited. Special guests also were named to round out the field.
Held in Los Angeles at The Home Depot Center and broadcast live on August 2, the X Games Rally event promises all the drama, skill, bravery, and excitement inherent in every rally event. The last three X Games Rally competitions prepared enthusiasts for that!
X Games 12 Rally
X GAMES 12 RALLY MAP
X GAMES 13 RALLY MAP
X GAMES 14 RALLY MAP
The big story for the first X Games Rally was the appearance of legendary Colin McRae. As one of the sport's most recognized and well-respected drivers, McRae increased the intensity level in the service area and on course.
Colin McRae and co-driver Nicky Grist along with Tanner Foust/Scott Crouch competed under the SRT USA and Vermont SportsCar banners.
This first X Games Rally was unique. Instead of taking place only in and around The Home Depot Center, the event started in the desert north of Los Angeles. Eight stages were run on Wednesday preceding the Super Special at The Home Depot Center the following weekend. On Thursday and Friday, the teams practiced for the Super Special on the tarmac portions of the course around the stadium.
For the Super Special, the cars started on the stadium floor, which was covered with dirt and featured a rally jump. The cars had to wind through the motorcycle jumps that dominated much of the floor's surface. The rally course then led up a ramp at one end of the stadium and out onto the tarmac, then around the facility's parking lots and back to the stadium down a ramp on the opposite corner.
Colin McRae/Nicky Grist led 2nd-place Travis Pastrana/Christian Edstrom by half a second coming into the Super Special. The competitors tackled the course one at a time, from slowest to quickest. Audiences in the stadium and watching on TV around the world saw the posted times, which dropped car by car through the first 10 teams. Then Pastrana/Edstrom clocked the fastest yet.
As McRae/Grist negotiated the course, it was clear that they were the quickest of all – until the spectacular roll upon landing the jump in the stadium. The car rolled over completely, landed on its wheels, and finished the run to the checkered flag.
Entering the jump, McRae/Grist had a one-second lead. They captured the silver medal only half a second behind Pastrana/Edstrom.
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