Semenuk extends Olympus lead on first Sunday stages

While drier conditions made Sunday's first loop easier, it brought tire management into play for the leader

WhatsApp Image 2023-04-23 at 18.29.49

Subaru Motorsports USA’s Brandon Semenuk started the final day of the Olympus Rally with two stage victories.

Semenuk had already won all six of the stages held on a sodden Saturday, and extended his rally lead by 46.3 seconds over 24.5 miles on Sunday morning.

The crews had recced the Sunday stages two days prior, before the rainfall that characterized all of Saturday’s action, and the famous Wildcat stage remained wet and slippery when the zero car went in.

Semenuk completed the 18.5-miler in 20m40.5s, going 32.6s faster than Tom Williams who has been his closest opposition on every stage so far.

Jeff Seehorn, who like Semenuk is driving a Subaru WRX STI, was 1m48.1s off the pace in third place and the Ford Fiesta Rally3-driving Javier Olivares did an impressive job to outpace Patrick Gruszka to be fourth fastest.


The gap between Seehorn and Gruszka meant the pair swapped places in the overall classification, with Seehorn moving up to third place and six minutes behind Williams.

Semenuk’s winning margin on the considerably shorter Dayton stage was 13.7s, while Seehorn and Gruszka matched each other to a tenth of a second to jointly go third fastest. After the stage, Semenuk spoke to DirtFish about how the morning loop had gone.

“I liked that stage. We’ve only really used the first half of it in the past, so I enjoyed it a lot,” he said.

“I don’t think we managed the tires great on Wildcat, maybe want to consider a different tire choice. So they’re a bit shot on that stage, but overall it was fine. It was a short stage, so the tires had time to cool and they didn’t come up too much by the end.”

Semenuk went all-soft with tire selection for the first two stages, with one spare included in that count, but said “we’ll consider a medium” for the second passes of Wildcat and Dayton.

Olivares’ impressive pace means he is now 31.4s behind fellow Rally3 driver Jason Bailey in the battle for fifth overall, and Lucy and Lia Block head into the lunch break in tenth and 11th respectively.

In the Olympus Regional Rally there were two different stage winners on Sunday morning, and Andy Miller extended his overall lead by 54.9s in his Subaru Impreza STi N12 despite not winning either stage.