Travis Pastrana has found himself in no-man’s land in third place on the New England Forest Rally, after a blown turbo caused he and Rhiannon Gelsomino to start SS10 10 minutes late.
Pastrana had been closer to being competitive with team-mate Brandon Semenuk and main rival Ken Block before 100 seconds of penalties were added to his time for the late start.
Two stages prior, Pastrana had a minor off which had cost him about 12 seconds, and despite what seemed like a promising stage afterward it turned out that mechanical issues would put him back further than he could have planned for.
“I made some very optimistic notes,” Pastrana told DirtFish at service after SS10. “Some of our maxes were definitely not maxes, and then on the fan corner, I just basically backed it into the woods.
“Luckily I was able to restart and didn’t hit anything too big and was able to pop back out of the woods, probably lost about 12s-ish in the whole thing which wasn’t bad at all.
“The next stage felt great, and then our turbo blew, so last year everything went right, and this year has been rougher.
“At the end of the day Lucy [Block] gave me the best advice, she said ‘you’re already driving as fast as you can drive, so why not just go out and have fun because that’s why we’re here’.”
While it looked like Pastrana’s event could be over, competitor Derek James was there to assist in making sure the car got going again, even though it meant it was late for the next stage.
“Luckily Derek, we found out one of the drivers, actually Lia [Block’s] co-driver’s brother is a mechanic, so he helped us get back going when we blew the turbo,” explained Pastrana.
“The car was on fire, and we were trying to figure everything out. We weren’t even going to be able to transit through the last stage. He was able to unplug the oil line to the turbo, and we’re here!”
“We’re going to use [the rest of the event] as a test, the wing works great until the front tires start to go, then we get real bad understeer.
“And, you know, we’ve gotta win the powerstage today.”
Far ahead is Block, who has been eating away at Semenuk’s lead prior to a big SS11 win for the latter. Block and Semenuk are both pushing each other to the limit, and are expected to have a close battle on the final stages.
Fourth placeed Martin Donnelly also got caught out with a penalty on Saturday after a fuel test found his mixture to be non-compliant. Donnelly will lose two class positions, and be ineligible for Power Stage points.
The top two-wheel-drive crew is Seamus Burke and Martin Brady, whose main competition Michael Hooper retired after suffering fuel delivery issues at the end of Friday’s stages.
The battle for the lead of the parallel Maine & New Hampshire Regional Rally has calmed down a bit with TJ Pullen now sitting some wau ahead of Dylan Gondyke, but on the rough NEFR roads an attritional element could come into play in the fight for first place.