Travis Pastrana and Rhiannon Gelsomino have crashed out of a tight battle for the lead with Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino on day two of the Ojibwe Forests Rally.
Pastrana was leading the rally by five seconds at the start of the day, but after the first stage of the day Block had closed the gap to just about one second.
Unfortunately for the team, Pastrana’s rally ended just a few turns into SS10.
After going off the road and hitting a tree, Pastrana’s car suffered a broken rear suspension, meaning he could not continue the stage without fixing it.
Team-mate Brandon Semenuk explained the incident to DirtFish as he saw it.
“About three turns into [SS10] there’s a pretty technical four left over crest and it tightens up and it’s really quite narrow so if you get on the outside of the bend, there’s not really much there to save you,” he said.
“It looked like he just carried a bit too much speed and caught a tree on the outside. The car didn’t look too bad, but that’s the end of the day for sure.”
Block, who is now leading the rally by almost three minutes, weighed in: “Unfortunately when we started the stage we saw [Travis] running at us, and it’s not a good sign when your competitor is out of his car running at you.
“It’s unfortunate I was really looking forward to a good battle today. This is his rally. I enjoyed coming out and actually being competitive with him, because I wasn’t competitive with him last year, and I thought today was going to be a big tough battle.”
With just two rounds left to go and zero wins so far, the Ojibwe Forests Rally was likely Pastrana’s last shot at a much needed win to have hopes for the championship.
Pastrana’s retirement also means a harder battle for Block long term as Semenuk, who was comfortably in third is now comfortably in second, and able to minimize the gap Block can create with a win.
Though both drivers are ready to back down a touch for the rest of the event to avoid risking retirement themselves, they have both confirmed they’ll be pushing for the powerstage this round, in hopes to get every last point possible.