The top rally drivers in North America are on the course for Day 1 of the Ojibwe Forests Rally, Round 7 of the nine-event Rally America championship season.

Subaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana is well in the lead of the championship and a win at this event could hand him his fourth consecutive title. His teammate Ken Block is a distant second, and will need a win here to be a threat.

Meanwhile, Polish driver Andi Mancin stands to boost his position in the rankings by a couple of places. Contenders Andrew "ACP" Comrie-Picard and Tanner Foust are absent from this round, giving Mancin the edge in a tight points battle for the top-three.

This rally is a crowd pleaser every year. The picturesque backdrop of wooded forests and pristine lakes are marked with fast, smooth roads that competitors love. Cars began a Super Special stage on Friday afternoon at the Bemidji Speedway and will head out for a series of forest stages where the glow of brake rotors and the gleam of headlights will illuminate the dark forests.

The battle in the Super Production will also add some heat to an already hot summer. Piotr Wiktorczyk is hoping to increase his lead in the class championship, while Jimmy Kenney and Pat Moro will be in the mix, hoping for a late season charge.

Young driver Dillon Van Way has dominated the two-wheel drive championship since the start of the season and he will look to further extend his lead this weekend, but he will face tough competition from a number of drivers, including John Conley and Chris Greenhouse.

The two-wheel drive competition at this event is strong, with the MaxAttack! sub-series concluding this weekend. MaxAttack! Drivers will compete not only for a podium finish, but a cash purse totaling $5,000.

About Rally America, Inc.:

Based in Golden Valley, Minnesota, Rally America sanctions the premier rally racing series in the United States, the Rally America National Championship Series. In 2009, Rally America will conduct nine National Championship events at venues across the country, from Portland, Ore., to Newry, Maine. Rally America competitors reach speeds well over 100 mph in modified street-legal rally cars on natural-terrain courses consisting of gravel, dirt or snow.

Free official spectator guides will be available at the event or visit www.rally-america.com for more information and to view live updates.