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X Games 15 Rally Notebook

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Construction crews were out early in the stadium, converting the Moto X course to the rally course. It had one massive crossover jump and a couple smaller ones. When the gates opened to the public at 10:00 a.m., the dirt was compacted, and the rally teams were off-loading spares and tools for the pits situated along the north end of the stadium floor.


The schedule called for a full-course practice run for all drivers so they could figure out the course. Block was the one of the first cars on track, but he clipped a curb out in the parking lot and gently rolled onto his roof. By the time the car was righted and taken back to the service area for quick repairs, there was insufficient time for the rest of the drivers to do more than just try the jump.



The top driver from each pair advanced to the quarterfinal round, seeded in order of their times:

Kenny Brack -- 3:29.064
Jimmy Keeney -- 3:48.179

Brian Deegan -- 3:47.787
Matthew Johnson -- 4:23.834

Andrew Comrie-Picard -- 3:42.016
Arkadiusz Gruszka -- 7:01.414

Andi Mancin -- 3:37.373
Piotr Wiktorczyk -- 3:39.308

Brack landed heavily and damaged the front of his car. His team was concerned that a broken cooler might have caused engine damage.


As expected, in the first round, Brack easily beat out Keeney to move to the quarterfinals. There he went up against Mirra, whom he beat in a close race.


In the first round, Block was pitted against Brian Deegan in the third Fiesta. Everyone was horrified when Block purposefully missed the jump, driving along the base perilously close to TV crews and mechanics. The reason -- he'd clipped the edge of a concrete barrier and quickly realized he lacked sufficient speed to make it over the ramp safely, so he had no choice but to skirt it.


Pastrana's first run was against Andrew Comrie-Picard in a WRX, and Pastrana beat him by eight seconds. That left Pastrana as the sole Subaru driver with a chance for the gold.


Brack beat out teammate Foust in the first semifinal race. Pastrana was pitted against Deegan, and this time it was Deegan who had to avoid the ramp in a move similar to Block's, allowing Pastrana an easy win for the final.


After so many anticlimatic runs, everyone was hoping for a sizzling final between Brack and Pastrana. But it was not to be, as Pastrana got out of line in the tight turns on the pavement and spun sideways just before reentering the stadium at the end of his first lap. He was stuck across the track, and Brack had to be red flagged because the course was blocked.


Brack took the gold, Pastrana got the silver, and Foust was rewarded with the bronze.


In the end, the narrower, tighter course appeared to have favored the more nimble rallycross competitors in their quest for the gold at X Games Rally. It will be interesting to see if Rally America and ESPN decide to further handicap rallycross cars next year. If they don't, perhaps Vermont SportsCar will build a specialized lightweight WRX just for X Games. Maybe Block's gymkhana car would be an ideal starting point.


Medal winners left to right: Travis Pastrana: silver; Kenny Brack: gold; Tanner Foust: bronze.
Photo: John Rettie

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