Pastrana: I need Semenuk’s help to challenge him

The US icon was well beaten on his return to ARA last month but wants to push Subaru team-mate to greater heights


Returning Subaru Motorsports USA star Travis Pastrana has admitted he will turn to his team-mate Brandon Semenuk for help in finding the speed to challenge the Canadian this year.

Pastrana, who took last season away from ARA to spend more time with his family, was back for last month’s Sno*Drift Rally, where he was comprehensively beaten by defending champion Semenuk.

In a candid interview with DirtFish, Pastrana admitted he was still searching for the answer to his rival’s speed – but he needed to find it and land a win in the next three ARA rounds.

“Look at the last stage [on Sno*Drift],” he said. “I had a solid run and we lost a second per mile to Brandon… and I don’t even know how hard he’s going. I was blown away by that last stage – we didn’t slack and I got flogged, like straight up beat, really bad.


Pastrana finished more than six mins adrift of Semenuk on Sno*Drift

“We weren’t even in the same ballpark. We’re going to need to figure something out and it’s going to take some help from him – I know he has aspirations to go further and he’s going to need some competition to help push him.

“I think the only way I’ll be able to catch Brandon is with some help from him. But that’s the awesome thing about this Vermont SportsCar team – he wants to be pushed.”

Pastrana has no doubt about Semenuk’s ability and he’s hoping, with the Red Bull driver’s help, he can push him further.

Pastrana added: “I don’t know what his goals and aspirations are, but I would love to see him in the WRC and love to see how far he can take it.”

Looking ahead to this week’s Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, Pastrana is hoping to narrow the gap.

“We need to get closer,” he said. “I need a win by [round four in] Oregon. I’m definitely looking forward to 100 Acre, it’s usually a more consistent surface and it’s easier to get into a rhythm – but it’s also one of the events where I’ve had the least success. I know I can drive with the best in rallycross when we know the course, but it’s time to get back into the woods.”

Driving the 2023-specification WRX for the first time in Michigan, Pastrana was blown away by what the Vermont team had achieved in his absence.

He explained: “I kept slowing down over the bumps… Why? It’s like a WRC car. It’s so amazing and I’m so proud of Lance Smith and the Vermont SportsCar crew. I just didn’t realize how good these cars are – this WRX is the best car I’ve ever driven, bar none.

“Now I need to get back on my game and give him some competition.”