Semenuk leads opening day of ARA season
Updated: Feb 22
Brandon Semenuk and new co-driver Keaton Williams hold a commanding lead of the 2022 Sno*Drift Rally as main rival Kyle Tilley slid backwards from an early podium place.
As always Sno*Drift kicks off the American Rally Association presented by DirtFish National championship, but this year a thicker ice base than normal made the going even more demanding than usual.
Semenuk, driving for Subaru Motorsports USA, was the clear favorite heading into the weekend as team-mate Travis Pastrana is currently sidelined with a broken pelvis, Ken Block is competing in Africa and work commitments forced Barry McKenna to pull out of the rally at just a few days' notice.
But Semenuk still had to keep his Subaru WRX STI on the road and do that he did, winning all six stages to head into Saturday with a lead of just under five minutes.
For the majority of Friday that lead would be held over Mark Piatkowski - the reigning NA4WD class champion incredibly running just 0.3 seconds behind Tilley's Fiesta R5 after the first pair of stages.
But when Tilley took an unscheduled trip into a snowbank and lost further time throughout the loop to drop to third, Piatkowski stole the show with a string of competitive times before losing a minute himself at the end of the day.
Johnny O'Sullivan is a lower-than-expected fourth after day one in his Ford Fiesta ahead of Phil Wearn's Subaru.
Spencer Sherman heads the two-wheel-drive runners in his Fiesta R2 in 9th overall.
Ivo Draganov was the leader of the Regional rally in his Subaru WRX Wagon, with a gap of 1m37s to second.
Jon Kramer and Stephen Gingras have proved to be fast in Michigan, you need a Subaru as they complete a clean sweep for the brand in the regional podium.
Early casualties were Patrick Gruszka, who got his unique Mitsubishi Mirage stuck on just the second stage, and Mexican visitor Ricardo Cordero who sadly retired on the fifth special stage.