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Cordero makes history at Oregon Trail Rally

Cordero, Oregon Trail Rally

Proving just how difficult of a rally Oregon Trail is, the third stage of the rally both Subaru Motorsports USA cars retired after finding the same large rock at high speed, leading to a suspension failure for each car.

After three days, 18 stages, and 108 miles of high-speed stage rally action, the 2024 Oregon Trail Rally Presented by Wilsonville Subaru has come to an end. The mixed-surface, three-day rally, known for its high speeds, massive elevation changes, and challenging stages lived up to its legacy in the 2024 running. A total of 66 cars queued up for the rally, 43 regional, and 23 national, all prepared to tackle one of the most unpredictable rallies on the calendar.

Proving just how difficult of a rally Oregon Trail is, the third stage of the rally both Subaru Motorsports USA cars retired after finding the same large rock at high speed, leading to a suspension failure for each car. In their absence, a battle for the lead amongst a field of potential first-time ARA winners remained, ready to push as hard as possible to find their way to the top of the podium at the end of the day Sunday.

The third day of the rally was based in the town of Dufur, Oregon as per usual, and consisted of 46 miles spread across eight stages plus another eight-mile power stage for national competitors, totaling 54 miles of stage rally action, the longest day of the rally. The multi-time FIA NACAM Championship-winning team of Ricardo Cordero and Marco Hernandez were the ones who inherited the lead from Subaru’s misfortune Saturday, and they continued to hold the lead at the start of the day on Sunday.

Being Cordero and Hernandez’s first time at Oregon Trail, they were certainly not expecting to be in the position to win when they showed up to the Portland International Raceway stages on Friday. In fact, the 2024 Oregon Trail Rally was their first gravel rally in the United States, having only competed at Sno*Drift Rally in the ARA before.

With nine stages between them and their first-ever ARA National win, Cordero and Hernandez found the perfect mix of pushing and protecting their Citroen C3 Rally2 to keep their lead straight through until the end of the final stage, becoming the first Mexican team to win an ARA rally!

“It was a great weekend,” Cordero said at the podium celebration Sunday evening in Dufur. “It was completely unexpected. We were here to get to know the rally, and to get to know the people, and suddenly we are fighting for the lead! The pressure started to build up, and in the end, we took care of the car and ended up in first place. We’re really happy to be the first Mexican team ever to win an ARA event!”

Not only were they winners of the rally overall, and the RC2 class, but the act of showing up for the first time at Oregon Trail and getting the gold earned the team the 43 Institute’s Ken Block FLAT OUT 43VER Award.

Starting Sunday in third, the fan-favorite Ferrari V8-powered Subaru WRX STI of Sam Albert and Krista Skucas was still on the back foot after a puncture on SS6 on Saturday took them out of a close battle with the Citroen for the win. Despite not reaching first, they were able to hunt down second-place Javier Olivares and KJ Miller and their LN4 Ford Fiesta Rally3. After being overtaken on SS6, Albert and Skucas spent the next four stages making up the gap to Olivares, and finally overtook him on the second stage Sunday morning.

Sitting in third with a 1m40s gap behind them to fourth, Olivares and Miller cruised through the rest of the day to take the third spot on the overall podium, as well as the LN4 class win,

After their nearest competition in the class, Nick Allen and Stefan Trajkov rolled while crossing the finish of Saturday’s final stage, Olivares and Miller managed their two-minute lead over Jacob and Michael Despain most of Sunday, trading stage wins with their 2001 Impreza RS.

The Despains looked like clear LN4 runners-up, but, due to not turning in their time card at the final time control, they were marked as a DNF, meaning the team of Andy Didorosi and Jamie Willetts took second in class, while Madelyn Tabor and Sophia McKee landed third.

In the O2WD Class, the 1976 Ford Escort of Ryan Booth and Nick Dobbs completed a nearly perfect rally, winning 17 of the 18 stages in their class, and finishing first over the V8-powered 1977 Escort of Seamus Burke and Gary McElhinney.

“The last time I did Oregon Trail Rally it was my first rally ever in an R1 [Fiesta],” Booth recounted at the awards ceremony, “so a little bit different pace! The stages are fast, but it was a good time.”

Finally, in the L2WD class, Roberto Yglesias and Sara Nonack took home the win in dominant fashion after leading the whole rally in their Ford Fiesta ST.

“It’s been a challenging almost two years,” Yglesias explained. “My last win was the Southern Ohio Forest Rally in 2022, so yeah it’s been a while, it’s been a tough year, but finally, everything came together!”

The L2WD podium also saw Richo Healey and Michelle Miller’s Lexus IS250 in second, and Mark Tabor and Katheryn Hansen’s Fiesta in third.

Even though Subaru Motorsports USA competed under Super Rally most of the weekend, that didn’t stop them from taking Power Stage points.

Brandon Semenuk and Keaton Williams took first on the Power Stage while Travis Pastrana and Rhiannon Gelsomino took second, earning five and four points respectively.

Cordero placed third earning three points, plus a bonus of three class points for being the fastest RC2 car, while Albert earned two points in fourth, and John Coyne earned 1 point in fifth.

Oregon Trail Rally National Final Classification

  1. Cordero/Hernandez (Citroen) 1h34m31.7s
  2. Albert/Skucas (Subaru) +2m27.8s
  3. Olivares/Miller (Ford) +3m53.8s
  4. Coyne/Treacy (Hyundai) +7m11.4s
  5. Booth/Dobbs (Ford) +8m15.8s
  6. Burke/McElhinney (Ford) +12m56.1s
  7. Yglesias/Nonack (Ford) +13m40.5s
  8. Healey/Miller (Lexus) +16m46.7s
  9. Didorosi/Willetts (Subaru) +18m19.6s
  10. Mark Tabor/Hansen (Ford) +20m27.2s