It’s been 15 whole years since we’ve seen reigning American Rally Association presented by DirtFish National champion Travis Pastrana compete in the World Rally Championship, but it has happened.
That first foray was on none other than Rally México in 2007, where he entered a modified Rally America Group N Subaru Impreza WRX STI in the P-WRC category with Christian Björn Edström sitting in the passenger-seat to navigate.
Pastrana would be joined by his team-mate, a yet-to-Gymkhana Ken Block who was also driving a Vermont SportsCar WRX STI in the P-WRC class.
It remains the only time the two American legends have raced each other on a round of the world championship.
The event would go well for Pastrana, earning him a career best WRC finish of 15th overall, and fifth in class – proving he had what was necessary to hang with the big names in the international scene.
Block finished 13 places further back in 28th but would of course go on to record a best México finish of seventh overall six years later.
“What an amazing event, I had the time of my life, and to finish fifth in the P-WRC is just amazing,” Pastrana said at the time.
“This is our first WRC event and there are so many new things to learn here that are different than our events in the USA. So we just wanted to finish and learn.
“But this event is very rough on the cars and so I’ve got to thank Subaru and my team for providing me a car that withstood such a harsh beating!”
Harsh is right. Even in distance alone, WRC México in 2007 comprised 227 stage miles – roughly double the average rally length in Rally America at the time.
The stages of Rally México have long called out to a select group of US rallyists. The famous downtown street stages, the tricky mountain roads and, of course, the exciting El Brinco all bring something to the table that is different to what most US rallies have.
Pastrana has yet to compete again in México, but Block has entered the event six times in total – four times in a Ford WRC Car but most recently in his Ford Escort “Cossie” V2 in 2020, where he suffered an overheated engine.
In 2009 for example when Rally of Nations last ran as a format, four USA teams entered, with Pat Moro, Kenny Bartram, Piotr Wiktorczyk and Matthew Johnson each competing in a Subaru Impreza – but only Johnson was able to finish with a respectable ninth overall.
Wyeth Gubleman, the late Karl Scheible and Barry McKenna are yet more examples of huge US rally names who haven’t been able to resist the allure of Rally México.
This year, the US is back for Rally of Nations Guanajuato a team of two drivers representing their country – both from the Black Rifle Coffee Company Rally Team.
Dave Carapetyan, aka Texas Dave, has been rallying for 20 years but this weekend’s Rally of Nations will be his first outside the US.
Joining him will be rally rookie Mike Glover, founder of Field Craft Survival and former US Special Forces. Glover will be racing a similar Subaru WRX STI N14 to his team-mate and what will be just his second ever rally.
We can already assure him he’s made the right choice in making that Rally of Nations Guanajuato.