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Cordero leads Oregon after Exciting ARA racing on Saturday

Updated: May 21



Speedway, IN ~ After two days of rally action, the Oregon Trail Rally Presented by Wilsonville Subaru has been shaken up by on-stage drama and, the rally will see a first-time national rally winner after a rock on SS3 took out both Subaru Motorsports USA cars.

 

The rally action all started Friday night at Portland International Raceway with two Super Special stages. The mixed tarmac and gravel stages of PIR always make for an exciting start to the three-day event, and this year was no different.

 

Saturday Oregon Trail visited the Goldendale, Washington stages for 47 miles of competition, and the Headwaters Rally completed a six-stage itinerary to complete the compact schedule for the regional event.

 

While winners have already been crowned for Headwaters, the competition is still fierce in Oregon as competitors prepare for the final day of the rally.



Cordero Leads First ARA Rally

The biggest story out of Oregon Trail so far is without a doubt the surprise DNF for both Subaru Motorsports USA cars on the third stage of the rally, after the same rock took both teams out.


As first car on the road, the No. 199 of Travis Pastrana and Rhiannon Gelsomino went wide, clipping a hidden rock and puncturing the right rear tire.


As Pastrana explained it, “Historically I have not had a good time on Dalles Mountain Down, we’ve gotten a flat or something almost every time. I’m a little more sideways, and there are a lot of embedded rocks, a lot of big rocks. I pulled a rock out, got it with the right rear, took out the right rear.”


Unfortunately, when the No. 1 car of rally leaders Brandon Semenuk and Keaton Williams came through the stage, the rock was still on the racing line, and Semenuk caught it with his front right tire.


“Yeah, kind of a crappy situation,” he told ARA Media Partner DirtFish. “I got up to the top before you start to descend down, and a rock had been pulled onto the road a little bit and we clipped it on the line, got moving, and about a half mile down the road we realized we had a puncture.


“We made the decision to try to drive it out, as there was a lot more time to lose by pulling over and swapping it. So we just tried to manage it, and then I think the roads are a bit too rough and it rattled the suspension a bit too much and the damper failed, so we’re about a mile from the finish and the damper let go right here.”


Both cars are ready and back on stage in Super Rally, but with a retirement so early in the day, the penalty will likely be far too much for them to overcome to make it back into a podium finish.


This incident left the rally open to a whole field of drivers suddenly much closer to their first ARA National Rally win, and first place after SS3 would belong to the Citroen C3 Rally2 of Ricardo Cordero and Marco Hernandez.


The pair are no strangers to the American Rally Association having competed twice in Sno*Drift, but for the first time, they lead a national rally with a healthy gap heading into the final day.


The main competition for Cordero and Hernandez at OTR has been the Ferrari V8-powered Subaru of Sam Albert and Krista Skucas.


The battle between the home-built Subaru and the FIA-Homologated Rally2 was fierce on Saturday, with only a few seconds separating the two on many stages, and a few traded times as they battled all day long.


Unfortunately for Albert, a puncture on SS6 lost him close to 90 seconds, putting him on the back foot as he tries to fight back to the top on Sunday.


Cordero leads not only the rally but also the RC2 class, as competitor John Coyne sits a bit over three minutes back.


The LN4 battle we saw between the team of Javier Olivares and KJ Miller, and Nick Allen and Stefan Trajkov at Olympus found its way to OTR as the two once again found themselves less than 15 seconds apart after the first five stages.


Olivares opened up an extra 38 seconds on SS6 and started to pull away as the cars made their way through to the final stage of the day, SS9. Unfortunately, Allen suffered a heavy roll at the end of SS9 after the finish line, taking him out of contention for the rest of the rally.


With Allen out, second place starting day three of the rally will be the 2001 Impreza RS of Jacob and Michael Despain, while Andy Didorosi and Jamie Willetts sit third.


Ryan Booth and Nick Dobbs sit first in the O2WD class after holding the lead from the very first stage in their MkII Ford Escort.


Patrice Spitalier brought his Renault Clio V Rally5 to the ARA for the first time and put on a fantastic performance holding second place in O2WD for most of the rally so far, even putting the Rally5 car ahead of the V8 Escort of Seamus Burke! Sadly, Spitalier was met with issues on stages six and nine dropping him back about a half hour from the leader.


With Spitalier’s issues, Burke sits second heading into day three, and the BMW 328i of Keenan Phillips and Selina Melotti sits third.


Finally, in the L2WD class, the Ford Fiesta ST of Roberto Yglesias and Sara Nonack lead the field by 53.6 seconds over second place Sean Donnely and Zach Pfiel.


"It’s been a fun couple of race days after a straining week for me personally,” said Nonack. “We’re racing hard but smart, avoiding punctures and taking care of the car. The massive crowds at PIR followed by soaking in the views of volcanoes at 110 mph has been wild. Same strategy tomorrow!"


While Yglesias and Nonack have led the whole rally, Donnelly and Pfiel made up a 25-second deficit to then-second Mark Tabor, and went from fourth to second on SS3 alone.


Tabor and co-driver Katheryn Hansen still sit third in class at +1m38.3s to the leaders.


National Classification after SS9

  1. Cordero/Hernandez (Citroen) 49m09.2s

  2. Olivares/Miller (Ford) +1m37.6s

  3. Albert/Skucas (Suabru) +2.01.4s

  4. Allen/Trajkov (Ford) +2m36.5s

  5. Coyne/Treacy (Hyundai) +3m17.3s

  6. J. Despain/M. Despain (Subaru) +3m42.4s

  7. Booth/Dobbs (Ford) +5m05.7s

  8. Yglesias/Nonack (Ford) +6m48.1s

  9. Donnelly/Pfiel (Ford) 7m35.4s

  10. Burke/McElhinney (Ford) 7m37.8s




Miller and Redd Battle for Regional Victory

In the Oregon Trail Regional Rally, Andy Miller and Shaun Tracy lead in their EZ30R-powered Subaru WRX STI NA4WD car.


While they have led the entire rally, the competition has been close, as Steven Redd and Dylan Hooker have been trading stage wins with their O4WD N12 Subaru WRX STI WRC Replica, and behind both of them, Josh Gierman and Colin Katagirl sit third in their NA4WD H6-powered GC Impreza after jumping from seventh to third on SS3.


The top five is completed by a close battle between the Subaru Crosstrek Competition of Chris Sutton and Hayley Hoffman, and the 2003 WRX of Phil Clarke and Kendra Tym.


“Phil has been amazing,” said Tym. “It is our second race together, and his driving is so smooth and easy to follow to get him his notes. I think our advantage is our competitive nature, and we have been having a fun time competing with Chris Sutton and Haley Hoffman with times, so it pushes us. But a big help has been Phil’s history with motorsports and knowing when to brake and start stepping on it and going.”


“Anyone can drive straight fast…it is how you can do the corners,” she added.


Both teams have stayed less than 10 seconds apart the entire rally trading positions twice, most recently with Sutton passing Clarke on SS9 and holding fourth by six seconds.


Clarke and Tym also lead the L4WD class at the end of day two by nearly three minutes over the 2002 WRX of Scott Crouch and Ryan Scott.


Crouch and Scott have been spending all day in a battle for their current position with Jared Bendt and Tim Stokstad. The two teams traded positions three times Saturday, and currently only have 6.4 seconds between them as they head into the final day of the rally.


In O2WD, John Hill and Jake Blattner led the first five stages of the rally after strong performances on both PIR stages in their MkI Ford Escort, but were overtaken on SS6 by the 1999 BMW M3 of Dave Clark and Lisa Long.


Clark and Long moved all the way up from eighth place in SS1 to first before the end of the second day of the rally, and currently have a one-minute gap over the rest of their class as they head into the final day.


The M3 set the fastest time in its class on every stage Saturday, apart from the second running of Maryhill Loops Road, where the Fiesta of Julien Sebot and Steven Harrell won by just 0.3s


Sebot and Harrell currently sit fourth, just thirty seconds off the podium, and will be chasing down the M3 of Ryan Haines and Rebecca Ruston on day three as they fight for a podium.


Finally, in L2WD, Casen Pederson and Oliver Smith lead the class in their Lexus IS250. After taking the lead from the Mazda 3 of Matt Tabor and Denae Murphy on SS3, Pederson and Smith built up a three-minute gap over the rest of the field, and hold a strong lead.


Unfortunately for Tabor, an issue on SS9 has dropped them to the back of the class, and they face a four-minute gap to their nearest competition heading into day three.


Rounding out the L2WD podium contenders, Jeff Castro and Ann Hanson’s 1982 Toyota Corolla sit second, and first-time driver Gabriel Young and co-driver Mitch Meadows sit third.


Regional Classification after SS9

  1. Miller/Tracy (Subaru) 59m29.0s

  2. Redd/Hooker (Subaru) +0m43s

  3. Gierman/Katagirl (Subaru) +1m58.4s

  4. Sutton/Huffman (Subaru) +3m08.1s

  5. Clarke/Tym (Subaru) +3m14.6s

  6. Clark/Long (BMW) +3m31.8s

  7. Sperry/Thomas (Subaru) +3m33.9s

  8. Anderson/Curtis (Subaru) +3m46.3s

  9. S. Crabb/P. Crabb (Subaru) +4m01.6s

  10. Hill/Blattner (Ford) +4m34.4s


~ Mason Runkel for ARA.


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