Brandon Semenuk has stormed into the lead of the Oregon Trail Rally, winning both of Saturday morning’s gravel stages.
Semenuk sat third after Friday’s two tests at Portland International Raceway, albeit just 4.6 seconds down on his rally leadingSubaru Motorsports USA team-mate Travis Pastrana.
But Semenuk – who hasn’t won a round of the American Rally Association presented by DirtFish National Championship in over a year – absolutely bossed the 10.6-mile Dales Mountain Down stage and the succeeding Great Horse Shoe test to open up a 15.8s lead over Ken Block.
Block was second fastest on both tests but simply couldn’t live with Semenuk’s pace.
Pastrana is third, 36.7s behind his team-mate after a flat tire on SS3 and then struggling for rhythm on the repeat run.
Hamad Al-Wahaibi leads the RC2 runners in his Ford Fiesta Rally2 on his first ARA event but finds himself in no man’s land as class rival Kyle Tilley failed to make it out of service – his Ford Fiesta R5 grounded by electrical failure.
Javier Castro has therefore assumed fifth place – setting fifth-quickest time on both SS3 and SS4 – in his R4 Toyota.
Little separates John Coyne and Enda McCormack; Coyne leading his Hyundai-driving rival by just 17.3s in their fight for seventh.
George Plsek, Dave Carpetryan and Tony Torchia complete the early top 10.
Overall classification after SS4:
1 Semenuk/Hall (Subaru) 21m40.3s
2 Block/Gelsomino (Subaru) +15.8s
3 Pastrana/Gelsomino (Subaru) +36.7s
4 Al-Wahaibi/Sircombe (Ford) +1m13.5s
5 Castro/Agesta (Toyota) +2m20.4s
6 Coyne/Dunham (Ford) +3m07.3s
7 McCormack/McCormack (Hyundai) +3m24.6s
8 Plsek/Skucas (Mitsubishi) +3m44.7s
9 Carpetryan/Scott (Subaru) +3m57.5s
10 Torchia/Ruston (Subaru) +4m03.3s