On the competitive debut of Subaru’s all-new WRX, Brandon Semenuk has continued his dominant Green APU American Rally Association form – winning all eight of Friday’s stages at the Ojibwe Forests Rally.
Semenuk and co-driver Keaton Williams have won every single event of 2023 so far and haven’t been beaten to a stage win since the 100 Acre Wood Rally in March, and once again nobody could touch them in Minnesota.
Competing with the new car after 18 months of development for the first time, Semenuk admitted at service that there were “small teething issues” but it was nothing major – and he was loving driving Subaru Motorsports USA’s new creation.
“It’s a 10-year newer version than what we were in before, and the team’s obviously incredible,” Semenuk told DirtFish.
“What they’ve learned in the span of the last car and bringing it to this with more modern engineering and components, the car is a pleasure to drive, it’s so fun.
“It’s performing well and it’s holding up well, so no dramas so far.”
All of that showed in the stage times, as Semenuk – who has never won the Ojibwe Forests Rally – leads the event by 8m44.1 seconds after eight of 17 stages.
Behind the charging Canadian, a sensational fight developed for second overall between Patrick Moro (Chevrolet Sonic V8), Matthew Dickinson (Subaru Impreza) and Javier Olivares (Ford Fiesta Rally3).
Over the first loop it was all incredibly close, with just 5.3s splitting second-placed Moro and fourth-placed Olivares.
But over the repeat pass in the evening Olivares made a break for it, stretching 12.6s clear of Moro to hold second place, with Dickinson back in fourth another 10.1s behind having lost his podium spot to Moro on the day’s final stage – but doing well considering he only had three operating brakes for the second loop.
Seamus Burke leads the Open 2WD class in fifth place overall, but it’s close as the Irishman has just 7.1s in hand over his Lexus-driving class rival Michael Hooper.
In the Regional event, Michael Jr Engle opened up a convincing 45.7s-lead over fellow Impreza runner Ryan Rethy.
David Peretz is third after Friday in another Subaru while Levi Johnson’s BMW tops the two-wheel-drive runners.
DirtFish instructor Michelle Miller leads her class (L2WD) alongside her driver Richo Healey in their Lexus.
Saturday’s leg consists of nine further stages for the National crews but just eight for the Regional runners, and you can follow it all unfold with DirtFish Live Center.