FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lancaster, CA (April 30, 2006)
The 23rd running of the Subaru Rim of the World Rally is now history, and world extreme motocross champion Travis Pastrana, from Davidsonville, Maryland and WRC co-driver Jakke Honkanen, have won his first professional gravel auto rally by scoring a one minute, 18-second win in his Vermont Sports Car Subaru WRX STi. Subaru teammate Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino finished second, and Mitsubishi driver George Plsek and co-driver Jeff Burmeister were third.
Pastrana said that it was co-driver Honkanen who was the key to his victory, which relieves the frustration of five second-place rally finishes over the last two years.
"Jakke's experience pushed me to go faster when it was appropriate, yet help pace me when we had a good lead so I maintained my speed without hurting the car. It feels great to win! Finishing second all those times just doesn't do it," said Pastrana.
Pastrana said that his lead over Block grew as day turned into evening as he drives better at night than Ken does, and Block's flat tire during the morning stages also set him back.
For Burlington, Vermont's Lance Smith, Pastrana and Block's team owner, it was also a first as Vermont Sports Car had never finished first and second in cars they had built themselves, so it was a special night for the team as well.“When we prepared Mitsubishi's factory rally cars, we had one-two finishes, but never in our own cars,” said Smith, who started Vermont Sports Car in 1991.