The Subaru WRX STI Is Still Winning Rally Championships

Motorsport / 3 Comments

Subaru won't sell us a new one, but at least someone is still getting some use out of the STI.

As it turns out, Subaru can still win a rally race. Despite the death of the WRX STI, Subaru has proved it's not done with the platform yet.

With road-going Subaru performance cars now limited to just the Subaru WRX and the BRZ, the STI name is gone for now. Despite that, it still carries some weight in the motorsports community, with Subaru winning the 2022 American Rally Association (ARA) championship.

On top of that, Subaru teammates Brandon Semenuk and co-driver Keaton Williams beat out Hoonigan's Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino for the win. It is Subaru's sixteenth driver's championship under Subaru Motorsports USA. "I'm just speechless right now, can't believe we got the championship!" said Semenuk after the final stage.

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For the ARA, this was its Abu Dhabi 2021. The all-out title fight came down to a single, final event between established rally legend Ken Block (read: Lewis Hamilton) and relative newcomer Semenuk (read: Max Verstappen). With teammate Travis Pastrana out due to a pelvic fracture, Block strung together four wins in a row- a streak Semenuk broke at the New England Forest Rally.

Semenuk also took early wins at the 100 Acre Wood and Olympus rallies, but the championship came down to a final race at Lake Superior. Block entered the rally with three stage wins and a ten-second lead, but the Hoonigans crashed out on Stage 7 as snow fell for the second time that weekend, leaving Subaru in the lead and Pastrana just behind. In the end, it was a 1-2 finish for Subaru.

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The Superior Rally is always a challenging one. At this time of year, intermittent snow is common in the North East. On top of that, fall foliage means stages can be slick due to wet leaves and mud. After all, this is ultimately what doomed Block's championship efforts.

Block was a tough nut to crack throughout the season, and he even held the lead going into the final rally of the year with his ex-WRC Hyundai i20 rally car. While it's great to see Subaru still winning rally races, we have to wonder where this all goes. The STI is dead now, and the WRX is arguably no longer a rally car for the road.

Hopefully, Subaru continues to support the sport however it can.

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