Dirtfish Olympus Rally 2023 Preview

Brandon Semenuk and Keaton Williams head west in search of a third season victory.

Following a second win for the season at Missouri’s 100 Acre Wood last month, Subaru Motorsports USA heads to Shelton, Washington on April 22 and 23 for the Dirtfish Olympus Rally. The third round of the 2023 American Rally Association (ARA) championship, Olympus is also the first event of a two-round Pacific Northwest swing. Defending series champions Brandon Semenuk and co-driver Keaton Williams are looking for a repeat of their 2022 winning effort at Olympus but as always through these challenging stages, a win won’t come easily.

Olympus is a course known for long stage roads, which have reached lengths of just over 25 miles in previous seasons. It’s a rally that is all about the variables; the weather can shift dramatically from beginning to the end in each of those long stages, making tire choice tricky and affecting the performance of cars and drivers in unexpected ways.

This year, an additional variable comes in the form of changes in ARA regulations that are meant to increase competition between the O4WD and RC2 classes. New power and aerodynamic restrictions will put a bit of a damper on the Subaru Motorsports USA team’s progress, forcing drivers push the #1 WRX STI to the limits under Washington’s tall forest canopy.

As the site of the last WRC stage run in the United States and the home of DirtFish Rally School, the rocky-gravel surfaces of Olympus and their challenges are well-known to many of the drivers. But familiarity crumbles in the face of the unexpected, and there’s as much of that in 2023 as there’s ever been. Be sure to follow Subaru Motorsports USA on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok for all the updates from the event!

Quotes from the drivers
Semenuk: “Excited to be racing close to home again at Olympus Rally. This year’s event schedule is filled with long gruelling stages, making the already difficult rally even more challenging! Throw in some classic Pacific Northwest weather and prepare yourself for a ride. Keaton and I have shown our pace at this rally in wet and dry conditions, so hopefully we will be able to keep our 2023 race season momentum going!” 

Williams: “Can’t wait to get wheels on the ground at Olympus as the stages resemble the Welsh forests back home! Looks to be a great route with long, twisty stages, and hope we can make it three wins from three!”

NAME: 2023 Olympus Rally
DATES: 4/22/2023 – 4/23/2023
HOST TOWN: Shelton, Washington
TIME ZONE: Pacific Daylight Time (UTC -7)
NEAREST INTL AIRPORT: Seattle-Tacoma Intl Airport (SEA)
WEATHER: Cloudy with showers. High near 57F. Low around 41F. Sunset 20:11.

2023 Olympus Stage Info
Total Distance: 353.7 miles
Number of stages: 12
Stage distance: 131.7 miles
Stage surfaces: Gravel
Longest stage: 18.65 miles (SS7/8 Wildcat)
Recce: Open
Service Park: Sanderson Field
Official Start: 10:00 on Saturday
Superspecial: Yes (SS11/12)
Power Stage: SS12
Stage(s) in darkness: Possible (SS6)

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