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Pastrana stars

Pastrana stars as USA make Nations' Cup semis
By Eurosport

16/12/2006 at 16:04Updated

Travis Pastrana was the star of the quarter finals as the American eased his side into the final four of the Race of Champions’ Nations' Cup at the Stade de France in Paris.

USA 2-1 Germany

Pastrana starred as the US Rally champion - who was representing team USA by himself in Paris - brushed aside a German challenge.

Pastrana was gifted race one victory when Bernd Schneider overdid a handbrake turn, hitting the barrier on the outside and stalling his Porsche, but was pegged back when former Rally of Spain winner Armin Schwarz beat him when they switched to the heavier Aston Martins.

But the USA sealed their qualification when Schneider was unable to match Pastrana in the buggys - even though the American clipped the wall on the final corner.

"It was quite a hard hit," said Pastrana. "It's so slick out there, it's really difficult to keep it in a straight line."

Scotland 2-1 England

World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx caused quite a stir as a superb second lap saw him steal victory on the line from 1995 world rally champion Colin McRae after David Coulthard had taken the first heat for Scotland by beating James Thompson.

The decider saw a re-match between Coulthard and Thompson in buggys and it was the Formula One star who easily put Scotland through to a semi-final clash with USA after Thompson clipped the wall on the opening lap.

Finland 2-1 Scandinavia

Scandinavia handed Finland heat one victory when Tom Kristensen hit the wall in the Porsches at turn one, allowing 2004 winner Heikki Kovalainen a clear run.

Mattias Ekstrom levelled things in the Astons when he beat WRC star Marcus Gronholm, but to no avail as Kovalainen thrashed Le Mans legend Kristensen in the face-off.

France 'A' 2-0 Spain

After winning a preliminary contest against a French &lsquoB' team comprising Yvan Muller and Stephane Peterhansel, the &lsquoA' combination of Sebastiens Loeb and Bourdais proved far too much for Spain.

Loeb and Bourdais were the only duo of the final eight to win their match in only two races as the triple world rally champion brushed aside his regular team-mate Dani Sordo in the Aston Martins after Bourdais had earlier beaten Nani Roma in the Porsches.

France will face Finland in the semis.

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