Semenuk extends Olympus lead amid further stage disruption

The wet weather and Semenuk's unmatchable pace continued into the second pass of stages


Brandon Semenuk almost doubled his Olympus Rally lead on the second pass of the Nahwatzel and Cougar Meadow stages, which continued to be soaked by rain.

The wet conditions had already proved tricky for the leading drivers going on to the stages first time around, and on the second pass they had to contend with even worse visibility of the stage surface and deeper ruts due to the amount of cars that had gone through. Not that those challenges fazed Subaru star Semenuk at all.

“It was not too bad,” said Semenuk to DirtFish of his run through Nahwatzel on which he extended his rally lead over the Ford Fiesta Rally2-driving Tom Williams by 22.7 seconds, before going on to explain how much harder the stage had become in the hours since the first pass.

“It was a lot rougher in spots, more than I’d imagined. And it felt a lot slippier as well, it seemed like the organic spread out over the road a bit. So it’s overall a little lower grip, and just abrasive in spots.


“The car’s great, I don’t think any issues. Definitely harder on the tires that time around, felt like they maybe went off a little bit by the end. But all good otherwise.”

Following those comments, Semenuk put his two spare tires on and then put in another convincing winning display on SS4, the second pass through Cougar Meadow, as he outpaced by Williams by 9.1s. Having finished the morning 34.7s clear, Semenuk is now in front by 1m06.5s on the rally.

Nobody else had an answer to Williams’ pace, let alone Semenuk’s, on the two stages and Patrick Gruszka was 53s off the pace in third over the 16.7 miles of Nahwatzel and then 22.9s slower than Semenuk through the 5.12-mile Cougar Meadow, meaning he was also outpaced by Semenuk’s fellow Subaru driver Jeff Seehorn.

Gruszka maintains third overall though in his Hyundai i20 R5 by over half a minute, with Seehorn now up to fourth ahead of the Toyota RAV4 AP4-driving Alejandro Perusina.

L4WD class leader Jason Bailey maintained his sixth place in his Ford Fiesta Rally3, while everybody below him moved up a spot before SS3 even began as George Plsek retired from the rally following the finish of SS2 due to engine overheating.

A group of drivers missed out on driving SS1 and SS2 at competitive speeds due to disruption of those stages, but thankfully most got through SS3 before that was also flagged by a marshal.

Andy Miller is the leader of the Olympus Regional Rally after winning all four stages in his Subaru Impreza STi N12.