South of the Border – WRC
Less than two weeks after the Missouri rally, the team headed south – way south – to Leon, Mexico. There the two drivers made their debuts in the WRC. Only a handful of American drivers have competed in WRC events outside of the United States, despite the WRC having held events in Olympia, Washington, from 1986-1988.
One of the biggest differences for Pastrana and Block is that they got to recce (reconnoiter) the course and write their own pace notes. In American rallying, notes are provided by organizers.
Before the start Pastrana said, “We need the experience, and that is why we are here. We are not here to try and win or go flat out and risk everything. We need to finish. It’s a steep learning curve, but we are enjoying the challenge.”
And finish he did, in fifth place (15th overall) in the Production WRC, competing against more experienced competitors. Block’s rally did not go as well. He rolled on the first stage and eventually finished 16th in class and 28th overall.
Striving for Consistency
The middle of the season did not go well for Pastrana. He suffered retirements in the next two U.S. rallies. In the Argentinean round of the WRC, he finished 10th in the production class. Although an admirable finish, it wasn’t as good as his inaugural WRC event.
Pastrana took third place in Pennsylvania’s Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) and then garnered his second victory of the season in the New England Forest Rally in July. However, Australian Andrew Pinker in a WRX STI led in the championship fight with strong finishes, including two wins.
In early August, the second running of X Games Rally took place in Los Angeles, California. SRT USA invited Colin McRae again along with Boris Said in a fourth car.
However, the team did not have the fairy tale ending of the previous year. McRae crashed in the semi-final round against Block. Pastrana overcooked it on the final turn in his matchup against Foust. Although he finished ahead of Foust, Pastrana was in the wrong lane and was disqualified. He received the bronze medal.
The final round was a close race between Block and Foust, but, in the end, Foust won the gold medal in his WRX STI. Block took silver.