Semenuk delivers debut win for new Subaru in Ojibwe

The ARA champion dominated once again - but his epic stage-winning run did come to an end


Brandon Semenuk delivered Subaru Motorsports USA’s new WRX 23R chassis a debut American Rally Association win on the Ojibwe Forests Rally.

Semenuk and co-driver Keaton Williams won the seventh round of the season by 10 minutes 52.2 seconds – stretching their unbeaten ARA run to eight rallies.

But their immaculate run of stage wins in a row ended at 69 when the Semenuk picked up a front-right puncture on Ojibwe’s penultimate stage.

Maximum points from the powerstage though ensures Semenuk has claimed all but one of the available points in what has been a truly crushing season.

Second place went to the impressive Javier Olivares who gave the Ford Fiesta Rally3 its best ever ARA result.

Olivares had faced tough competition for the second podium spot throughout the first leg, but his task was made easier when Patrick Moro retired his Chevrolet Sonic V8 on Saturday’s first stage with a gearbox problem.

That left just Matthew Dickinson’s Subaru in Olivares’ periphery, but with over 20s in hand heading into the final day he was able to secure second ahead of Dickinson who claimed his first ARA podium since 2018.

Michael Hooper had been embroiled in a tight fight for the Open 2WD class victory with Seamus Burke, but the battle was settled in Hooper’s favor when Burke went off the road on SS10.

A statement from the ARA confirmed both Burke and co-driver Gary McElhinney “were responsive” but “per safety protocol, the driver was transported by air ambulance to a local trauma center for further evaluation”.

The remaining two stages of Saturday morning’s loop were canceled as a consequence.

In the Regional event, Michael Jr Engle clung onto his overnight lead to take victory in his bright green and yellow Subaru, followed home by Ryan Rethy and David Peretz who were also Subaru mounted.

Levi Johnson topped the two-wheel-drive runners in his BMW while DirtFish instructor Michelle Miller won the L2WD class, co-driving for Richo Healey in his Lexus IS250.