Travis Pastrana leads the Oregon Trail Rally after Friday evening’s two runs on the Portland International Raceway stage.
Pastrana – who sat out the last American Rally Association presented by DirtFish National round with a clashing TV commitment – has already wrapped up the 2021 title so is free of any pressure on this weekend’s finale.
The Subaru Motorsports USA driver won the first pass of the spectator-friendly stage to carry a 3.8-second lead over Ken Block – who won SS2 – into Saturday and Sunday’s legs of the rally.
Block was third fastest on SS1, 4.1s down on Pastrana and one second adrift of the other WRX STI driven by Brandon Semenuk. But the Hoonigan driver nicked 0.3s from Pastrana to win SS2 and head Semenuk by just 0.8s overnight.
Just 4.6s covers the leading trio but Hamad Al-Wahaibi is already 7.5s adrift at the head of the RC2 field. The Oman driver has however made an extremely encouraging start to his first ever ARA event to head class rival Kyle Tilley by 5.4s in fifth overall.
Bringing an R4 car to the USA for the very first time, Javier Castro is sixth in his Toyota with ARA regular John Coyne seventh in a Ford Fiesta Rally2.
Enda McCormack, George Plsek and Dave Wallingford complete the top 10 ahead of Mark Piatkowski who is now the 2021 LN4 class champion having successfully started the event.
Lia Block – the 15-year-old daughter of Ken – had stunned with the 23rd fastest time in her Ford Fiesta on SS1 but a more troubled SS2 leaves her over three and a half minutes adrift of the lead overnight.
Overall classification after SS2:
1 Pastrana/Gelsomino (Subaru) 6m13.9s
2 Block/Gelsomino (Subaru) +3.8s
3 Semenuk/Hall (Subaru) +4.6s
4 Al-Wahaibi/Sircombe (Ford) +12.1s
5 Tilley/Brady (Ford) +17.5s
6 Castro/Agesta (Toyota) +33.5s
7 Coyne/Dunham (Ford) +46.8s
8 McCormack/McCormack (Hyundai) +56.1s
9 Plsek/Skucas (Mitsubishi) +1m02.7s
10 Wallingford/Junnila (Ford) +1m08.2s