Monday, October 17, 2022 by Marie-Lyse Tremblay
Canadian driver (from Whistler, BC) Brandon Semenuk won the title in the American Rally Championship (ARA) last weekend. Accompanied by his British co-driver Keaton Williams and on an official Subaru WRX STI from Subaru Motorsports USA, Semenuk took victory at the last round of the season, in Michigan (Lake Superior Performance Rally).
This last national rally of the season in the United States, contested on muddy roads and sometimes even with a little snow, saw Ken Block and Alessandro Gelsomino take control from the start with his Hyundai i20 WRC . But an exit from the road during the penultimate stage on Friday put an end to the hopes of victory and of the title of the mediatic American duo. Block and Gelsomino were initially expected to restart on Saturday, but their Hyundai had suffered extensive damage to the suspension, chassis and roll cage, making a restart impossible.
From then on, the way was clear for Semenuk who was trying to win his first championship title in rally. The Canadian driver, however, had a lot to do with his teammate Travis Pastrana, who put a lot of pressure on him throughout the rally. Pastrana started Saturday 29.7 seconds behind Semenuk, but by SS10 he had reduced that gap to just 12.2 seconds. His fight for victory was then thwarted on the eleventh stage when Pastrana suffered a throttle problem, allowing Semenuk to recover 17.3″.
In the end, Semenuk and Williams win with 40.3 seconds ahead of Pastrana and his co-driver Rhianon Gelsomino. The podium is completed by Tom Williams and Ross Whittock, who conceded 6 minutes and 40 seconds to the winners with their Ford Fiesta Rally2.
Note also the 10th place of Dave Wallingford, co-driven by the Canadian Leanne Junnila, on Ford Fiesta R5. For the complete ranking of the event, click here.
For Brandon Semenuk, this is his 4th victory of the season, in 9 rallies. His 17th also at the national level. The 31-year-old has so far played partial seasons in the Canadian Rally Championship and full seasons in the United States since joining the official Subaru Motorsports USA team in 2020. Remember that his most famous exploits up to here were mountain bike competitions (MTB and freeride), including three victories in the Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour (2011, 2012 and 2014), a silver medal in the very first slopestyle event at the X -Games in Munich in 2013, four wins at Red Bull Rampage (2008, 2016, 2019 and 2021) and five victories at Red Bull Joyride.