Pastrana only competed in three rounds of the 2004 SCCA Pro Rally championship. He finished 19th overall in his first-ever rally at Sno*Drift in Michigan after getting stuck in snowbanks twice.
It was a different story a few months later at the hot and dusty Rim of the World Pro Rally in California, where Pastrana finished 4th overall – a mere seven seconds behind Lagemann. Pastrana even managed to set the fastest time on two of the rally’s 14 competitive stages.
"To be the fastest driver among dozens of veteran rally drivers on your first gravel rally, and in a new car that you have never driven, is just amazing," said Lance Smith, team manager and president of VSC. "We figured Travis had the talent to be a great rally driver but we didn’t think it would show this quickly. We were stunned!"
The challenging Pikes Peak International Hill Climb was not quite as kind to Pastrana, as he rolled in practice the day before the famous Race to the Clouds. The car was repaired, but he drove conservatively and finished only 6th in the Pro Rally class.
Photos: Lars Gange | rally.subaru.com
Although the official SRT USA rally team might have been dormant in 2004, SOA continued to support private entries actively with contingency money. Additionally, it contracted with VSC to provide a spare parts truck at Pro Rally events.
The success of the factory team had rubbed off on privateers, as demonstrated by nearly half of the entrants at Pro Rally events in 2004 driving a WRX. Further support came from Subaru in the form of local event sponsorship. For example, Subaru Western Region was a major sponsor of the ever-popular Rim of the World Pro Rally.
At the end of 2004, the SCCA announced the end of support for the Pro Rally series. Professional rallying in America did not disappear, though, as Rally America picked up the reins and renamed the series the Rally America National Championship.