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Semenuk’s Subaru STI Beats Block’s Hyundai i20 In ARA Final Showdown

It was Subaru USA against Ken Block in the ARA Championship. See which Subaru STI came out on top.


How does the Subaru WRX STI compare with the Hyundai i20 Coupe? In the America Rally Association (ARA) Championship showdown this weekend, the 2022 Subaru WRX STI driven by Branden Semenuk beat Subaru’s biggest rival, Ken Block, and his Hyundai i20 WRC car. Semenuk wins his first U.S. ARA title over Ken Block, who finished second in the race and second in points for the season.

Pastrana won the title in 2021, drove his Subaru WRX STI, and finished third overall in the 2021 championship defense.

2022 Subaru WRX STI

Brandon Semenuk and co-driver Keaton Williams clinched their first-ever ARA driver’s and co-drivers championships ahead of Hoonigan Racing Division rivals Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino with a victory at Lake Superior Performance Rally (LSPR). It was the final round of the 2022 ARA National Championship season.

“I’m just speechless right now, can’t believe we got the championship!” said Semenuk after the final stage. “Our goal was to keep pace with Ken and keep the pressure on since we felt we had an advantage in the conditions this weekend and knew we needed the rally win to take home the title. It’s an incredible feeling, and the team has done a great job developing the car and keeping us in the fight this year so we could have the opportunity to get this done.”

2022 Subaru WRX STI
photo credit: Dirt Fish

Block drove a new Hyundai i20 WRC, a modified World Rally Car given a waiver to compete in the U.S. championship. Block’s car was expected to be the fastest car ever to run on the U.S. stages. It was in the early stages of the year, but Subaru answered midseason.

Semenuk drove the 2022 Subaru WRX STI with a series of midseason aerodynamic and chassis, and engine setup changes by Subaru and Vermont SportsCar to the STI rally car narrowed the performance gap.

Block led the wet and snowy Lake Superior Performance Rally early until the Hoonigan crew went off the road and into the trees. Semenuk and Williams had the race in hand and, with a cautious pace on Saturday, brought the STI to the finish safely. Pastrana and Gelsomino traded stage wins with their teammates and ultimately brought home a Subaru 1-2 event finish.

The Championship ensures Semenuk is among Subaru’s best WRX STI championship drivers, including Mark Lovell, David Higgins, and Travis Pastrana, all with a U.S. rally driver’s crown. The Subaru STI will likely battle Ken Block and the Hoonigan Hyundai i20 WRC car again next year.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru, Dirt Fish