The clever money is on this one lasting the distance.
Brandon Semenuk and Ken Block’s dispute for the American Rally Association presented by DirtFish National title has been a thriller, and this weekend’s Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally promises to be just the latest instalment of the blockbuster.
Semenuk leads Block by just four points after seven of nine rounds, having won the 100 Acre Wood, Olympus and New England Forest Rallies in his works Subaru WRX STI.
Block – controversially switching to a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC from 2C Competition this year – has, in turn, won the Oregon Trail, Southern Ohio and Ojibwe Forests Rallies.
Reigning ARA National champion Travis Pastrana? Forget him. Such has been the pace and consistency of Semenuk and Block this season, they haven’t allowed Pastrana – battling to simply stay fit at the beginning of the season thanks to a BASE jumping accident – a look in.
It really is anybody’s championship to win – a tantalizing prospect for both drivers as neither has ever won a US rallying title before.
But, as close and as epic as the 2022 season has been, it remains a possibility that the season could be wrapped up this weekend in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania.
It’s a small chance, but it’s a chance nonetheless.
For Block, it’s not possible. Defeat Semenuk on STPR and his championship bid is looking great with four wins to Semenuk’s three, but there is no scenario in which the Head Hoonigan in Charge can travel back home to Utah with the 2022 ARA title in his back pocket.
Subaru star Semenuk can, however, lift the title on Saturday – but would require a large chunk of fortune to do it.
Semenuk’s only shot at winning the title hinges on him winning a rally (hardly an absurd ask given his supreme speed this year) but equally requires Block to score zero or minimal points. That one’s a bit less likely.
But if the scenario does present itself that Block DNFs, Semenuk can wrap up the championship with a win and at least fourth on the powerstage.
That would lift him to 140 points, with Block’s maximum total 139 for the season as a DNF on STPR would be Block’s third zero of the year.
The likelihood however is that this pair will finish first and second this weekend, and this epic, pulsating, unpredictable championship battle goes all the way to LSPR in four weeks’ time.
Let battle commence!