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  • Writer's pictureARA Staff

Olympus Rally comes to a competitive close

Photo by Erick Huertas

Shelton WA. ~ Another round of the 2024 American Rally Association National Championship came to an end as the 2024 Subaru of Puyallup Olympus Rally Presented by DirtFish wrapped

up its 150 mile itinerary on Sunday night.

 

The iconic rally which was once a part of the World Rally Championship lived up to its legacy

with some of the best stages in the US, and exciting competition throughout the entire field.

After a 90+ mile itinerary on Saturday, many teams stayed up all night preparing and repairing

their cars for the second day of the rally on Sunday.

 

Day two of the Olympus rally consisted of seven stages plus the National PowerStage totaling

57.68 competition miles for the national competitors, and just shy of 55 miles for the regional

rally. Sunday's lineup of stages included the 10-mile “Not So Stillwater,” the 5.64-mile “Plug Mill,” the PowerStage, and of course, the infamous “Wildcat Short,” which has been trimmed down to

include only the trickiest, most deceptive parts of the stage.

 

Rain hit the Shelton area on Sunday morning just before the stages started and ensured that

while there would be no dust to deal with on stage, the roads in the forests would be slick, and

deserving of caution as cars tackled them.

 

As the first car on the road, Brandon Semenuk and co-driver Keaton Williams came into day two

with a healthy lead, but they were cautious of some of the trickier areas of the Wildcat stage

after the rain. “The rain is definitely something to think about,” Semenuk said at Parc Exposé, “maybe not on the first two stages, but Wildcat can definitely be quite slippery in areas, so we want to be cautious in those places.”

 

But cautious or not, Semenuk still went to work tackling the stages with surgical precision, and

managed to extend his already 8 minute lead to over 13 minutes by the end of the day, securing

a dominant win for the Subaru Motorsports USA team. “It was a lot of mileage, first of all. More than years past,” Semenuk explained on the podium. “Familiar stages but a not-so-familiar car here, these are different roads than what we’ve driven on and raced on so far with the car so we got some experience, and can figure out some set-ups for the future when we tackle more stages like this. These are some of the best roads in the championship so I'm glad we got 150 miles of it!”

 

While Semenuk was running away with the win, the battle for second place was still

raging between Nick Allen and Javier Olivares. After the two Rally3 drivers finished yesterday

just 19.3 seconds apart to Olivares’ advantage, Allen found his groove on the slick stages

Sunday morning and slowly started to chip away second by second. By the end of SS12, Allen and co-driver Stefan Trajkov had taken out all of the time between the two, and surged into second place overall, as well as the LN4 lead. “It’s been a roller coaster for sure,” said Allen, “we ended up switching cars last minute and Javier was kind enough to let us use his back-up. There were times where we didn’t even know if we were going to start the event.”

 

Despite coming second in class, Olivares was glad to have Allen as competition. “It was epic for sure,” he said on the podium, “and it’s just great to have that close competition. If he wasn’t here we’d have big gaps all around us.” Allen also secured three extra class points for the LN4 Championship with a win on the PowerStage. Jordan Patrick O’Connel and Makisa Upton rounded out the LN4 podium in their 2005 Subaru Impreza STI.

 

Just behind the two Rally3 cars was the Hyundai i20 Rally2 of John Coyne and Aris

Mantopoulos. While Coyne wasn’t pushing as hard as his competitors, he did find himself

finishing with a faster time than Allen and Olivares on a few stages. As the lone entrant, Coyne

won the RC2 class by finishing the rally, but placed fourth overall on pace alone.



Finishing in fifth place overall is the Open 2WD class winner Derik Nelson in his turbocharged

Subaru BRZ. Nelson and co-driver Michael Hordijk were as impressive as ever, proving that you

don’t need four wheel drive to be exceedingly quick! Nelson traded times with Coyne, Allen, and Olivares on multiple stages as well, putting his self-designed car on par with some of the most refined rally cars the industry has to offer today! Nelson led the class by a gap of over 11 minutes to second place’s Michael Hooper and Claudia Barbera and their Lexus IS350, while third place was Ryan Booth and Nick Dobbs, who were competing under super rally after an early retirement on Saturday.



Finally, in the Limited 2WD class, Richo Healey took home his second rally win! With Michelle

Miller in the co-driver’s seat, Healey piloted his Lexus IS250 to victory in the most limited class

in the field. “It was amazing, Olympus is incredible,” Healey said at the podium celebration. “I co-drove with late notice last year, and I wanted to drive it. There’s a reason this was a WRC round!”

 

While Healey was largely uncontested Sunday, Sean Donnelly and Mark Tabor’s battle for

second in L2WD from Saturday continued with the two trading close times every single stage.

The battle was decided on the PowerStage when Donnelly and co-driver Zach Pfeil overtook

Tabor and snatched second place by just 7.4 seconds.

 

Roberto Yglesias and Sara Nonack managed to win the PowerStage for the extra three class

points despite competing under super rally regulations after a broken axle on Saturday.


Top 10 National

1. Brandon Semenuk (Subaru) 2h19m56.1s

2. Nick Allen (Ford) +13m37.1s

3. Javier Olivares (Ford) +14m23.0s

4. John Coyne (Hyundai) +17m12.7s

5. Derik Nelson (Subaru) +18m45.6s

6. Michael Hooper (Lexus) +30m21.4s

7. Sam Albert (Subaru) +34m9.8s

8. Jordan Patrick O’Connell (Subaru) +36m59.1s

9. Andy Didorosi (Subaru) +38m25.7s

10. Richo Healey (Lexus) +39m56.6s


Huge Regional Field sees tons of action

Photos by: @william_langford  and @annadarty


In the regional rally, Andy Miller and Shaun Tracy spent the day managing their two-minute lead

they earned by winning all of Saturdays eight stages, While the only stage they won on Sunday was the opener, they kept their pace on par with the rest of the field to ensure their Naturally Aspirated 4WD EZ30R-powered Subaru Impreza STI would finish atop not just the class podium, but the overall podium as well.

 

Miller, ever modest, had few words at the Podium celebration Sunday evening, stating, “It was

rough, but it ended well! We had a couple problems that we sorted through.

“We recently teamed up with Rallitek and PRE and we got to recce with their 2019 Rallitek

Crosstrek. I think our notes were on pace and perfect, so it was really great.”

 

In second place overall and winning the Open 4WD class, Steven Redd and Dylan Hooker’s

S12 WRC replica car took home three of the available seven stage wins in the regional rally on

Sunday.

 

Redd was also taking the cautious approach to day two of the rally, not wanting to make any

unnecessary mistakes and jeopardize their performance from the day prior.

“We’re pretty far off [Miller], so we’re just going to keep it smooth, consistent, and keep the pace

up,” he said at Parc Exposé Sunday Morning. “I’m not gonna push, I think we’re just going to

settle into second, and we’re first in class, so that’s the plan.”

 

Second on the NA4WD podium behind Miller, Cooper Anderson and Ethan Curtis put their 1998

Impreza 2.5 RS third on the overall podium as well after a strong push on Sunday’s stages.

The duo started their day in fifth place, behind the Subaru of Daniel Sperry and the BMW of

Dave Clark, but an issue for Sperry on SS10, moved them up to first in class and fourth overall,

and the 4WD grip of the Subaru allowed them to power past Clark’s M3 on the first running of

Wildcat Short one stage later.

 

Speaking of, Anderson managed three regional stage wins Sunday, including both runnings of

the infamously difficult Wildcat, proving his ability on some of the trickiest turns the American

Rally Association has to offer. “It was awesome dude,” Anderson said on the Podium. “I loved it.

“This was the first rally my dad and I did when I was 15, so it’s really special to be up here on

this podium.”


Photos by: @fatgoooose 


Anderson and Curtis were also the recipients of the 43 Institute’s Ken Block FLAT OUT 43VER

Award. Curtis was emotional upon receiving the award, stating, “I was part of a TV show with Ken Block 12 years ago. I spent time with his family and his crew for a week out in Park City. He was an incredible hero, mentor, everything. We all learned something from him ,and we are all better because of him. I’m happy to carry his tradition and his legacy in this sport.”


Jason Mumme and Chris Ellinger were able to find their way to the NA4WD podium as well in

their 2000 Impreza, taking advantage of passing Sperry on the same stage as Anderson.

Dave Clark was able to make the impressive showing he’s known for in his 1999 BMW M3,

landing fourth overall and first in the highly competitive Open 2WD class, which saw 22 entries

this weekend.


Clark and co-driver Jamie Willetts finished the day with a gap of over four minutes to second

place Eric Bailey and Jordan Rock in their 2016 Scion FR-S.


The team of John Hill and Danny Norkus was set to take a podium spot in the class as well until

a retirement after SS10 took their 1968 Ford Escort out of contention, allowing for the M3 of

Doug Heredos and Robert Kassel to move into the final Open 2WD Podium spot.


Heredos was emotional to make the podium, stating, “I’ve been doing this for 21 years, and this

is the first time I’ve gotten to spray champagne!”


Photos by:  @fatgoooose 


The Limited 4WD battle came down to the wire on the final stage with the closest finish of the

rally! Chris and Lori O’Driscoll led in their 2003 Subaru WRX at the beginning of the morning,

having held the lead since SS3 on Saturday over Phil Clarke and Ed Flaisig.


Also in a 2003 WRX, Clarke and Flaisig spent most of Saturday and Sunday chasing down the

O’Driscolls, trading stage wins, and even finishing SS12 just 0.1s slower than Chris and Lori.

However, it wouldn’t be until the final stage of the rally when Clarke would pounce and make his

move, gaining 30.7 seconds over O’Driscoll on the second running of Wildcat Short to take fifth

place overall and win the L4WD class by just 1.2 seconds over the O’Driscoll car.


The L4WD podium was completed by Jonathan Meyers and Mack Golos who finished third in

their 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX.


The Limited 2WD class saw quite a mix up early in the day when two cars retired from the

opening stage, including one in podium contention.


The third place 1982 Toyota Corolla of Jeff Castro and Ann Hanson, as well as the fourth place

1977 Dodge Colt of Alex Staidle and Maribel Plaza both retired early on SS9, Not So Stillwater,

leaving just four cars left in the class of eight entries.


Both cars retiring put the 2000 BMW 323i of Lyle Gee and Lauren Olana into third place behind

the 2015 Scion FR-S of Chris Miller and Crystina Coast, and the class leaders Jonathan

Compton and Brie Moore in their 2003 Ford Focus.


With a healthy gap between each competitor, it seemed that this would be how the podium was

celebrated at the end of the day, but on the penultimate stage of the day, the Scion of Miller and

Coats retired, allowing Gee and Olana to take second, and allowing Johan Friesen and Karen

Jankowski’s 1987 BMW 325 to move into third.


Top 10 Regional

1. Andy Miller (Subaru) 2h38m51.8s

2. Steven Redd (Subaru) +2m17.6s

3. Cooper Anderson (Subaru) +4m02.9s

4. Dave Clark (BMW) +8m10.1s

5. Phil Clarke (Subaru) +10m36.3s

6. Chris O’Driscoll (Subaru) +10m37.5s

7. Eric Bailey (Scion) +11m24.0s

8. Jason Mumme (Subaru) +15m53.9s

9. Doug Heredos (BMW) +16m35.9s

10. Jonathan Compton (Ford) +18m7.3s


~Mason Runkel for ARA


Thank you to all our photographers! Peng Du, Chris Daley, Trevor Lyden, Anna Daugherty, Erick Huertas, Toua Herr, Mike Shaw, Nikki Rustin, Dan Pilling, William Langford, Pat Slocom, Christopher Lee, Fel Berondo and others! If you are looking for shots from the weekend you can go to Apexiel.


For more information about the American Rally Association, and to get involved, visit our

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