RallyCross was Travis Pastrana's only event at X Games 18, but after taking an early lead in his qualifying he was shunted into a concrete wall at the first corner by Andy Scott, a driver from Scotland. Without arguably his biggest rival on the grid for the finals, Sebastien Loeb, the eight-time World Rally Champion, cruised to an easy victory.
"It's great to have Seb here," said Ford's Ken Block, who earned silver Sunday and has seen Loeb's dominance in the WRC firsthand. "But I knew him coming here meant one thing: that he'd be near the top of the podium, which is the way it is."
Although Pastrana was unhurt, the impact wrecked his Dodge Dart. "What the hell was that, dude?" he shouted, while still at the wheel of his totalled car. "We've got the fastest car on the track, and the first turn of the first race? You've got to be kidding me!"
With no spare car available due to the competition rules, Pastrana had no choice but to sit out the final and miss out on racing Loeb after he had invited the rally legend to visit the U.S. for the first time.
"This is our big event, and to have someone take it from me is devastating," said Pastrana, "When you brake at the point where everyone has braked all day for the corner and someone decides to come in and not brake -- that's a devastating way to end what could've been a fantastic week for the team."
Loeb's other friendly rival, Marcus Grönholm, was also out; a heavy crash left the Finn concussed. And the way was clear for Loeb to dominate the X Games RallyCross final, which he did in his usual style: winning by a country mile.
In the final, Loeb took an immediate lead, drove six flawless laps and crossed the line in the custom-made Citroen DS3 XL a full 12 seconds clear of Block, with last year's winner Brian Deegan a further 0.42 seconds further back.
While delighted with the win, Loeb's thoughts were with Grönholm, his old sparring partner from WRC.
"We know it's a high level event and I'm really pleased to win," Loeb said, "but maybe my main rival, Marcus Grönholm, wasn't able to race. I'm just happy he's okay."
- X Games 18: Sebastien Loeb on the Road to L.A.
- Sebastien Loeb profile page
- Travis Pastrana profile page