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Origins: Subaru in American Rallying – Part 6


SRT USA guest driver Niall McShea awaits practice for the 2008 edition of X Games Rally.


X Games Rally


Although not part of the Rally America championship, the rally event at ESPN's X Games had become an important part of the season. The third year for the rally competition again was held at The Home Depot Center near Los Angeles. The course was similar to that of the previous two years, featuring a side-by-side track in a paved parking lot linked to a dirt track laid out in the stadium.


SRT USA entered cars for its three regular drivers plus a fourth car for Irish rally driver Niall McShea. He had won the Production World Rally Championship (PWRC) in 2004. McShea and co-driver Marshall Clarke earned their way into X Games by winning the New England Forest Rally just three weeks earlier.


Once the dust had cleared from the elimination rounds, the final came down to a straight battle between Pastrana and Tanner Foust, who also was driving a Subaru WRX STI. Pastrana won by a little more than three seconds to take the Gold medal. Block had engine problems, and he was unable to compete against Mirra in the semi-finals. That gave Mirra the Bronze medal – not bad for the former BMX rider in his first rally car event at X Games.


Back to the Championship


Returning to stage rallying at the Ojibwe Forests Rally in Bemidji, Minnesota, Block was leading the event until he hit a tree on the last stage. He was out, and Pastrana took another win to extend his overall points lead. 


In the next round at Rally Colorado in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the fortunes for the two main SRT USA drivers could not have been more different. Block had steering problems that plagued him on and off for the whole event, while Pastrana won overall in one of the tightest events of the year. By doing so, he had garnered enough points to secure the championship. 


Second place in the 2008 championship was still up for grabs, and Block's string of bad luck finally changed at the Lake Superior Rally in Houghton, Michigan. He took a commanding lead early in the rally to take the win, resulting in a one-two finish in final points for SRT USA. Adding to the team's success was Mirra winning Rookie of the Year honors. 




While 2008 was a banner year for SRT USA in the Rally America National Championship, the team's adventures overseas in PWRC events were not as substantial as they were in 2007. 


Pastrana competed in two events in the PWRC. In the Acropolis Rally, which is regarded as the toughest gravel rally in the series, he finished 29th overall and 13th in the PWRC. However, he was a non-finisher in the Rally Argentina. 


Block only competed in one round – New Zealand – where he finished 30th overall and 13th in the PWRC.


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