Subaru and Travis Pastrana Capture Third Consecutive Rally Win to Open 2021 Season
Olympia, WA. – Subaru Motorsports USA driver Travis Pastrana and co-driver Rhianon Gelsomino took their third straight overall victory to open the 2021 American Rally Association (ARA) season at this weekend’s DirtFish Olympus Rally, giving the #199 crew a commanding lead in the ARA championship chase. Pastrana and Subaru teammate Brandon Semenuk now sit first and third in the season standings with three rounds of the nine-event calendar complete.
“Great weekend here in Washington!” said Pastrana after the event. “We came in looking for a podium to keep us in good position in the standings and ended up coming away with a win—sometimes it’s about being in the right place at the right time. These roads are amazing and Brandon was really on it, great to have Ken Block back in the fight too. Rhi and I were happy to get the points and take a solid lead in the championship with six rounds to go!”
A favorite of drivers and fans alike, Olympus Rally is notorious for rain, fast-changing road conditions, and some of the most scenic and challenging stages on the American calendar. With defending champion Barry McKenna and his Ford Fiesta WRC unfortunately sidelined due to a family issue, the fight for Open Class honors was between the two blue and gold Subaru Motorsports USA entries of Pastrana and Semenuk and the newly debuted #43 Hoonigan Racing Division WRX STI of Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino.
With weather on Day 1 shifting between drizzle and hard rain, Pastrana won SS1 and SS3 to open a lead of just under seven seconds over Semenuk and John Hall on the first stage loop. The Canadian crew struck back quickly on the second loop, taking SS5 and SS6 and cutting the lead to 3.6 seconds, but the 18-mile Wildcat stage would bring misfortune for the pair as Saturday drew to a close. After taking a full second out of Pastrana through the first sector of the stage to put the outright lead into reach, Semenuk was caught out by a slippery transition onto a bridge which left the car with a hard hit on the driver’s side and ended his weekend.
With the hard-charging #180 out, Pastrana was left with a lead of 47.3 seconds over Ken Block with only four stages left to run on Sunday. A smart Day 2 drive highlighted by two more stage wins gave Pastrana and Rhianon Gelsomino a win of just under a minute. Block’s second-place finish in his first rally in a Subaru since 2009 moved him past both McKenna and Semenuk and into second in the driver’s championship, while Rhianon Gelsomino now leads husband Alex in first and second positions in the co-driver’s title hunt.
Subaru Motorsports USA will return to the ARA championship at Southern Ohio Forest Rally, June 11-12.