July 22nd, 2020
It was an up-and-down weekend for Subaru Motorsports USA at Southern Ohio Forest Rally, in the team’s first event of the 2020 season. The team was excited to return to rally after a nine-month off-season hiatus extended by the COVID crisis, and ready to debut a highly anticipated new lineup of Travis Pastrana and Brandon Semenuk.
Southern Ohio was to be a shortened six-stage event as the American Rally Association series eased back into in-person rally events. Unfortunately, Pastrana’s return was cut short by an engine fire in the 199 car on the second stage of the event. Pastrana and co-driver Chrissie Beavis were able to get out safely, but their efforts to put out the blaze weren’t successful and their rally was done.
With the team’s hopes now squarely on the shoulders of Semenuk and co-driver John Hall, the Canadian duo found themselves in a close fight for second with Ken Block as the stages continued into the early morning hours. Brandon continued to build confidence and speed in the #180 WRX STI, taking nine seconds out of Block on SS5 and moving into second overall. Unfortunately a concrete barrier on the rally’s final stage would ultimately catch out several competitors, including both Semenuk and leader Barry McKenna, allowing Block to win the stage and lock up second. Despite a damaged rear suspension, Semenuk was able to bring the car through the final transit section to collect third place–his first-ever ARA Open Class podium in his first outing with Subaru.
The blue and gold will be back on the stages at August’s Ojibwe Forests Rally, looking to claw back championship points from current leader Barry McKenna.
About Subaru Motorsports USA
Subaru Motorsports USA is managed by Vermont SportsCar and proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., Yokohama Tires, Method Race Wheels, DirtFish Rally School, KÜHL and RECARO. Follow the team online at www.subaru.com/motorsports.