Half a second. Five tenths. It’s nothing. Except, right now, for Brandon Semenuk, it’s everything. OK, it’s almost everything.
When the Subaru Motorsports USA driver missed out on a 100 Acre Wood powerstage win to Barry McKenna, he probably didn’t imagine it would be talked about three rounds later in Ohio. Yet here we are.
Semenuk has driven a peerless season. He’s won five from five this year and the last six Green APU American Rally Association rounds in total. He’s a man on a mission. But at last week’s Southern Ohio Forest Rally, it was mission impossible.
For all his wins and for all the Subaru success this season, Semenuk and co-driver Keaton Williams needed one more point to secure back-to-back Stateside titles.
Series officials confirmed to DirtFish that the pair’s total points can still be equalled before the end of the year. That would, of course, require America’s dominant rallying force to go through New England, Ojibwe and Lake Superior without scoring a single point.
Let’s face it, it’s not going to happen.
Semenuk and Williams will make their point and take their title as very worthy champions.
For the third rally in succession, the Subaru pair drove the perfect rally last weekend. They won every stage. In fact, the last stage they didn’t win was the Missouri powerstage in March, when McKenna was on inspired form to take his rival to the wire aboard his Ford Fiesta WRC.
As you can imagine for a man who’s just scored his 51st consecutive scratch time, Semenuk was fairly relaxed when he caught up with DirtFish on Saturday evening.
“It’s been a really good event for us,” he said. “This is the first year I’ve come here and it’s been so dry. Last year in particular, there was a lot of rain before the start. This time, it was so dry. I couldn’t believe how loose it was at times.
“Our notes were made with more of a wet road in mind – we didn’t change them from last year, the stages were identical – and the notes were definitely optimistic in places with the level of loose we had.”
Talking about the title, the Red Bull star added: “The championship’s looking pretty good, but it’s not mathematically tied down yet. We’ve had some great momentum this year, I certainly can’t complain about that at all.
“I didn’t expect it to be so smooth as it’s been – usually there can be a lot more drama; we’ve had a good year and I don’t want to put our guard down. You never know what can happen with this sport.”
Last year Semenuk won an absolute thriller in Maine, edging Ken Block by nine tenths of a second for victory at New England Forest Rally. How the Canadian would love a repeat of that level of intensity with the biggest name ever in American rallying.
Ultimately, there’s no point for Semenuk to prove. Just one for him to win.