Subaru Motorsports USA brought home a double podium win at this year’s Ojibwe Forest Rally. Travis Pastrana landed Subaru’s first win of 2020 in his brand new WRX STI. His teammate Brandon Semenuk also dominated and picked up his first U.S. stage win with third place, a back to back podium finish.
The Ojibwe Forests Rally is the third round of the shortened American Rally Association season and also the first full two-day event on the ARA calendar since the beginning of the pandemic. This round gave Travis Pastrana an opportunity to return to form after an engine fire at the Southern Ohio Forest Rally. Pastrana came back strong with a brand-new #199 WRX STI along with new co-driver Rhianon Gelsomino. The two were able to gap the field by 23 seconds in just the opening stage and win SS2.
The Canadian duo Brandon Semenuk and John Hall in the #180 WRX STI had to deal with loose road surfaces and a tire puncture in the opening three-stage loop. In the second loop they found better grip and took hold of third place keeping within striking distance of McKenna.
The next day Pastrana won the opening three stages and extended his lead to nearly 40 seconds by midday. In the afternoon Pastrana adopted a conservative strategy to protect his lead, while Semenuk continued to push in pursuit of Barry McKenna. Semenuk consistently built his confidence and took the wins on stage 11 and 12 only to hit a second puncture on SS13 but still manage to grab a solid third-place finish.
“It’s great to be back on the top spot,” said Pastrana after his win. “I love Ojibwe and it’s always been an event where I’ve done well! Subaru and Vermont Sports Car pushed so hard to get a new car ready after the first at Ohio and it ran great all week, plus Rhianon and I really worked to get our notes in a good place. We’re still on the back foot for the championship fight but this was a win we really needed to get our season jump-started.”
Semenuk says, “Very stoked to get my second straight podium finish this weekend! These stages were really fun, lots of jumps and pretty fast, especially if you can commit in the soft sand. I feel more familiar with the car now and it’s becoming easier to be fast in it. Travis and Barry were both super quick this weekend, so I was happy to be able to mix it up with them on some of the stages, and it really feels like John and I have momentum heading into the rest of the year.”
Subaru Motorsports USA’s next stop will be on October 2-3 at the Missouri’s Show-Me Rally before wrapping up the season at Olympus Rally in November. The team uses Method Race Wheels 502 wheels from the Rally Series. The wheels are overengineered to exceed SAE 2530 specifications. See more for more info.
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