We are just past the halfway point for the 2022 American Rally Association season. The National Championship is far from over. Drivers have had a rough time and some have shined. 

Championship Rundown 

Although the reigning ARA Champion Travis Pastrana has had a rough start he has still found a way to lead the championship standings. Mark Piatkowski took the early championship lead after a shocking win at the Sno*Drift rally in January. Piatkowski would maintain the lead through the Rally In The 100 Acre Wood. Brandon Semenuk would take over the championship lead after the Olympus Rally with his second straight event win, and Piatkowski would move down to third overall.

After a rough day, two at the Oregon Trail Rally Semenuk was able to salvage as many points as possible and finished the rally second overall to maintain his lead. Travis Pastrana was closing in on Semenuk. Semenuk would lose first place in the championship standings after gaining zero points at the Southern Ohio Forest Rally, which promoted Travis Pastrana to first place. Only nine points separate first and third place in the ARA National Championship Standings. The championship race looks like it may go down to the wire, which is something Block and Pastrana are all too familiar with. 

Championship Standings:

  • Pastrana 78
  • Semenuk 72 
  • Block 69
  • Williams 43*
  • Piatkowski 42*

*Both Williams and Piatkowski are marked as ineligible for the ARA title   

Sno*Drfit Rally 

The Sno*Drift Rally was the first event on the 2022 American Rally Association schedule. The Sno*Drift Rally is done completely on snow and ice, and as if that wasn’t hard enough for the drivers, they are also aren’t allowed tire studs. As usual, we saw very few O4WD drivers with only Brandon Semenuk and Patrick Gruszka. Semenuk would retire on SS14 due to going off the road and gearbox damage. Gruszka would go off on SS2 and temporarily retire but would rejoin just one stage later on SS3. Mark Piatkowski won the Sno*Drift Rally to take an early championship lead

Rally In The 100 Acre Wood 

The Rally In The 100 Acre Wood was the first gravel rally for the 2022 ARA season. It was also the first time Ken Block, Travis Pastrana, and Barry Mckenna would race this season. Ken Block looked to have his record eighth event win in the bag. That was until disaster struck on SS12 when a deer ran out in front of Block’s 2019 Hyundai i20 WRC. Block would continue and finish the rally in second after losing a minute to Semenuk. Barry Mckenna would place third and Travis Pastrana would place fourth. 

Olympus Rally 

Olympus Rally saw Brandon Smeenuk win his second straight event and take over the championship lead from Mark Piatkowski. Both Ken Block and Barry McKenna would retire from the rally. Block retired on SS3 after going off the road and hitting a tree. Mckenna would retire on SS11 due to being unable to finish the stage. The Olympus Rally saw the return of Offroad Hall Of Famer and American Rally Legend David Higgins. Higgins retired on SS4 due to a steering rack failure. 

Oregon Trail Rally 

The Oregon Trail Rally was the first event on the American Rally Association schedule to feature tarmac stages. Ken Block dominated day two and was able to maintain his lead through day three to secure his first win of the season. Boh Travis Pastrana and Brandon Semenuk had mechanical issues, with both cars only being able to reach speeds of 70mph on straights. Pastrana dealt with this issue on SS4, luckily the Subaru Motorsports USA crew was able to fix the issue at service. Semenuk had to deal with the same issue later on that day. Both Subaru Motorsports USA drivers were on full attack on day three after finishing day two tied. Brandon Semenuk won the battle but wasn’t able to dethrone Ken Block. 

Southern Ohio Forest Rally

Much like the Oregon Trail Rally, the Southern Ohio Forest Rally was dominated by Ken Block. Travis Pastrana looked to be making a comeback but Ken Block stopped him dead in his tracks, finishing the rally 38 seconds behind Block. Semenuk would retire on SS16 due to damage, due to this he didn’t gain any points, which promoted teammate Travis Pastrana into first place for the ARA national championship. 

Subaru Rally Team USA 

One driver has shined as the other had a rough start. Brandon Semenuk has shined early on winning two of the five rallies so far. Pastrana has had a slow start not winning any rallies thus far, but he has still found a way to be first in the ARA national standings. Both Subaru Motorsports drivers have met or surpassed expectations. Pastrana has had a slow start but still has found a way to maintain a spot in the top three in the ARA national standings. 

Hoonigan Racing Division 

Head Hoonigan in charge Ken Block has done what he came to do, which is win rallies and compete for the national championship. Ken showed up at the Rally In The 100 Acre Wood in a surprise car, not even the event organizers knew his car. That mystery car was a 2019 Hyundai i20 WRC, which was modified to meet ARA regulations. He currently sits just nine points behind championship leader Travis Pastrana.

Ken is joined this year by his wife Lucy Block and daughter Lia Block. This is Lucy’s first season driving a four-wheel-drive car. She is driving a 2021 Ford Fiesta Rally3 in the O4WD class. This is Lia’s first time rallying. She is driving a 2014 Ford Fiesta in the O2WD class. Lia currently sits sixth in the O2WD class. Lia was arguably the biggest surprise of the Southern Ohio Forest Rally when she placed 10th overall for the first time, and it’s just the first of many. 

My name is Joe Moore, I am a writer for Belly Up HockeyBelly Up Racing, and Belly Up Sports. You can find me on Twitter.

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