Brandon Semenuk Takes Second Straight Win at Olympus Rally
Semenuk Wins, Pastrana Second in Dominant Subaru Performance at Olympus
Subaru Motorsports USA driver Brandon Semenuk and co-driver Keaton Williams took home their second consecutive win of the 2022 season at Olympus Rally, dominating the weekend with six stage wins including the five-point bonus for the Power Stage and extending their lead in the American Rally Association (ARA) championship. Teammates Travis Pastrana and Rhianon Gelsomino finished second and moved into second place in the title race with six rounds remaining in the nine-event calendar.
Olympus Rally is one of the highlights of the American rally season, with challenging roads including some of the longest stages on the calendar. For 2022, fans showed up in droves thanks to unusually clear weather, and a 93-car entry list promised exciting racing up and down the field. The lineup included five big names – the Subaru pair of Semenuk and Pastrana, 2020 ARA champion Barry McKenna, Ken Block in his second event in a WRC Hyundai, and longtime Subaru driver and 2018-19 ARA champion David Higgins in a Citroën R5 car.
Semenuk and Williams came out of the gate attacking on the first day of the rally, winning the first stage and finishing second on the next two to hold onto the overall lead at the first service. While Pastrana and Gelsomino stuck close to their teammates in second, rival McKenna dropped back with a spin on SS2 and Block suffered a crash on SS3, knocking him out of the rally.
The two Subaru crews maintained the top two positions through the day’s second three-stage loop, with Semenuk increasing his margin over Pastrana to 7.9 seconds while McKenna pushed to close the gap from third place. The remaining two Saturday stages, a double pass of the 15-mile Nahwatzel stage, brought trouble for Pastrana by way of a spin on SS7 followed by an electrical issue on SS8 that dropped the defending champion to third overnight. Semenuk and McKenna would trade wins on the two passes, with Semenuk maintaining a gap of 32.7 seconds overnight.
The event’s final day brought more attrition, as McKenna went off the road on the first running of Olympus’ infamous Wildcat stage while pushing to narrow the gap. The Ford driver’s retirement left the two Subaru teammates at the top of the field and set up a showdown on the event’s final stage for Power Stage bonus points. Semenuk and Williams capped their dominant performance with a 15-second stage win over Pastrana and Gelsomino, securing the maximum 27 points for the weekend and increasing their championship total to 52. Pastrana and Gelsomino brought home a valuable second-place finish and four Power Stage points to increase their total to 37, ahead of McKenna and Leon Jordan with 19 and Block and Alex Gelsomino with 17.
Subaru Motorsports USA will be back on the rally stages at Oregon Trail Rally, May 20-22.
SEMENUK: “Olympus is one of my favorite events on the calendar. These forest stages are the kind of roads I learned to rally on, so I feel right at home here. Last year I was putting together a solid rally and just got caught out with a crash in a really slick section, so to get my first Olympus victory and some redemption this time out is an awesome feeling.”
PASTRANA: “This was a tough weekend for us, but we stuck it out and picked up some points which we really needed for the championship. Olympus isn’t usually one of my better events and we had some mistakes plus some issues with the car that dropped us out of contention for the win, so by the end Rhi and I were hanging on to maximize the points going into Oregon Trail next month.”
About Subaru Motorsports USA
Subaru Motorsports USA is managed by Vermont SportsCar and proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., MOTUL, KMC Wheels, Yokohama Tires, DirtFish Rally School, KÜHL, RECARO, weBoost and PepLink. Follow the team online at www.subaru.com/motorsports.
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About Subaru of America, Inc.
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