Travis Pastrana has mathematically secured his third consecutive Rally America National Championship driver's title following his win on the Rally Colorado at the weekend.
Pastrana and co-driver Derek Ringer finished just 4.5 seconds up on Kyle Sarasin in their BFGoodrich Tyres-shod 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI.
The win secures Pastrana the championship title with one round yet to run next month in Michigan.
After a season of consistent podium finishes and two victories, the occasional PWRC runner needed only a sixth place or better on the Steamboat Springs-based round to secure his third consecutive RANC title.
A win however was a distinct possibility when early on the first day several of Pastrana's closest challengers faltered.
Pastrana then found himself with a healthy lead that he maintained through the remainder of the rally weekend. A cushion of nearly thirty seconds allowed him to drive just fast enough without taking risks and Pastrana went on to win eight of the eighteen stages.
However, Pastrana's lead evaporated suddenly when, with just three stages to go, his Subaru hit a large rock that ripped apart the right rear tyre, slowing him considerably. His 31-second lead then dropped to just 0.4 seconds, but Pastrana decided against conceding victory and pushed on the final two stages to ensure he took gold.
"Any racer would have done the same, I just couldn't give it up," explained Pastrana. "After driving conservatively all weekend with a good lead, it was great to have a challenge at the end, it makes the win and the championship that much sweeter.
"This year definitely had its challenges like learning to work with a new co-driver and then driving a totally new rally car in the new 2008 STI, but Subaru along with my team made it all work out perfectly and the new 2008 STI was fast right out of the box."
"For Travis and Derek to win this rally represents a historic achievement for Subaru as it marks three consecutive Rally America titles for Travis with Subaru Rally Team USA," added James Han of Subaru of America, Inc.
"Having reclaimed the gold medal in the X Games 14 Rally earlier this year, this season has been quite a testament to Travis' abilities and performance from the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI which our rally cars are based upon. With further potential in our cars yet to be developed, I'm looking forward to next year."