There were a few interesting match-ups competing in the fourth ever X-Games rally competition earlier today. Aside from introducing America’s television watching public to the all terrain form of production car based racing and injecting a much-needed boost of exposure for the Rally America series, the story was not just about manufacturers competing for a gold medal, but the diversity of extreme athletes competing in the turbocharged all wheel drive rally cars which ranged from an Indy 500 champion to the leader of the freestyle motocross faction, the Metal Mulisha along with the other rookie and BMX X-Games gold medalist Dave Mirra.

Ford Fiesta Brings Home X Games Rally Gold
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Ever since a few of the manufacturer backed teams dropped out of World Rally Championship competition, Ford has been the only major car builder to campaign an entrant and the experience showed, leaving a trio of Fiestas to take on the sole Subaru of last year’s X-Games Rally Champion Travis Pastrana. For a moment there was hope that it would be a classic battle of Subaru vs. Mitsubishi, however Tanner Foust’s Rockstar Fiesta made quick work of Andi Mancin’s clean EVO IX and it was #199 Travis Pastrana who took out the last EVO hopeful, Andrew Comrie-Picard, despite the EVO VIII driver finally figuring out the 70 foot dirt jump. The Swedish ex-Indy Racing League driver Kenny Brack then flew past the BMX legend Dave Mirra’s STI, what was amazing was the amount of speed that the little Fiesta had going down the straight, unfortunately Mirra came off the jump with an extra hop and never quite recovered. He continued to fight the course for the rest of the run and proved once again that smooth equals speed and it was Brack who had it that run.

Ford Fiesta Brings Home X Games Rally Gold
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The last round of the quarterfinals pitted the amateur filmmaker Ken Block against the previous generation Ford Fiesta of Brian Deegan, Block had put the car on its lid in practice and Deegan had experienced a loose charge pipe that was supposed to be delivering boost from the turbocharger to the engine. The pair looked to be evenly matched, Deegan after all qualified fourth amongst a field of rally racing veterans, at least until the gremlins showed back up. However Ken Block hit a barrier before the big jump that he wasn’t able to carry enough speed to bridge the 70 foot gap. He instead decided to go around and was immediately disqualified, sending the slower Fiesta straight into the semifinals.

Continued after the jump.

Ford Fiesta Brings Home X Games Rally Gold
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The finals saw Kenny Brack and former X-Games Rally Champion Tanner Foust go head to head in a pair of Fiestas leaving only the strongest Ford to survive. Both were fast and the Formula Drift professional was keen on making a lot of smoke. However he overshot the turn coming onto the back straight and lost a precious 3.6 seconds, despite his best efforts Tanner had just ended his day. The last race before the championship put the factory backed STI of Travis Pastrana against the fast rookie, screaming Brian Deegan, who most definitely lived up to the name. Deegan was doing surprisingly well until the unfixed charge pipe resulted in about 1/3 maximum output and despite doing all that he could with first and second gear Deegan decided to forego the jump and sent Travis to the finals after only one lap, the early exit gave Pastrana a few less opportunities to feel out the Subaru’s barking points and would have a direct impact on the championship race.

Ford Fiesta Brings Home X Games Rally Gold
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The final race was as even as they had been all day, by the time the two cars came back into the dirt filled stadium to start their second lap, there was less than half a second difference between them. Both cars were evenly matched almost the whole race and it looked like the reigning gold medalist was going to take the win when he was sliding sideways around the high speed corner edging out the red and white Ford. Last year it was Pastrana’s co-driver that reminded him not to cut the last corner because of hydro barrier that juts out into the tight turn, unfortunately there were no co-drivers this year, only commentators and when Travis clipped the curb the Subaru was wedged in the most unfortunate of positions, leaving #199 idling and a pair of blue Alpinestar gloves buried deep in the face of the now former champion. Brack went on to cross the finish line and take home the gold in a brand new Ford Fiesta.

Ford Fiesta Brings Home X Games Rally Gold
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What do you think?
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1 comments:

TJKEON  (138) posted on 08.3.2009

It looks like the Ford Fiesta is here to stay!

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