Pastrana accepts his ARA title defense is over

He can still win the championship, but he realistically needed a win in Ojibwe to stay in the race

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Travis Pastrana is aware he has no realistic shot at defending his American Rally Association presented by DirtFish National championship title.

Pastrana and co-driver Rhiannon Gelsomino were leading the recent Ojibwe Forests Rally going into the final day by five seconds over their main competition, Ken Block.

On a hard push to hold off Block who had closed to one second behind, Pastrana pushed too hard through a difficult section and hit a tree, causing a suspension failure that ended his rally.

“We just came in a little too hot on a left four over crest. We had don’t cut [in our notes], so I tried to come in wide and it never got to the inside of the corner,” he explained.

Only three corners in, Pastrana sprinted back to the start to personally let each of the upcoming competitors know what happened, and that his car was still partially blocking the road, so they wouldn’t be caught off as well.

While showing the excellent sportsmanship he’s known for, Pastrana still knew that this was a huge blow.

“I had to win this one for my championship, and honestly, for Subaru,” he said.

“To keep Brandon’s championship looking as well as it has all year, taking any points from Ken was going to be great. Ken’s been driving great though; he’s been spot on all year.”

Semenuk currently leads Block in the standings by just four points. After seven of nine rounds, they each have three wins and two second places to count towards their final score – drawn from their best six results.

Pastrana meanwhile is 21 points down on his team-mate and his best results are two seconds and two thirds. He can still mathematically regain his title, but would need to win both of the next two events (and the two powerstages) and hope that Semenuk and Block have bad results on both rallies.

Pastrana is keeping his eyes towards the future though, and remaining ever committed in the final two rounds this year.

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“There’s no shift in focus,” he said.

“I mean for me, yeah, it would have been awesome to win this. I honestly came into this rally thinking, we were going to leave here with a win and we would still have a shot at the championship, but unfortunately that’s not the case anymore and we put ourself in that position.

“We don’t have a win all year. I’ve never won at STPR but there’s a first time for everything and I need to get better at those roads as well. It’s also the closest to my home, all my friends and family come out to it.

“So it’d be good to get a win there and obviously, LSPR is a race. I haven’t done in a little bit, but I love the roads up there and I’d definitely like to get a win there as well.

“So we’re going to do the best we can to finish on top of the podium at the end of the year,” he promised.

“Need to get some wins.”