The Olympus Rally is one of the most underrated events in motorsport

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The Olympus Rally is one of the most underrated events in motorsport

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Over the weekend, I left my home in the concrete jungle of Seattle and headed toward the depths of the Olympic Peninsula, the landmass that separates Puget Sound from the Pacific Ocean. Although Seattle is America’s 15th largest metropolitan area, it only takes about an hour’s drive in any direction to experience old-growth forests, pine-scented air, and pristine mountain views. It’s a hiker’s paradise.

Of course, this also makes it the perfect place to hold a rally. The American Rally Association (ARA) began competing on dirt and gravel forest roads outside Shelton, Washington, in 1973, and called it the Olympus Rally. In the mid-1980s, the World Rally Championship (WRC) even held a few rallies here – this was the last time a WRC event was held on American soil.

Olympus Rally 2024
Olympus Rally 2024
Olympus Rally 2024

Last weekend was the 30th edition of the ARA Olympus Rally, and Subaru invited me to take a look. It was my first time attending a gathering, and there’s nothing better than that; The Olympus is famous for its perfect driving surfaces and extreme length (150 miles total; one of the stages is 21 miles long, absurd for an American rally).

Professional mountain biker and rally driver Brandon Semenuk and co-driver Keaton Williams drove Subaru Motorsports’ ARA-prepared Impreza WRX to a practical victory (a margin of more than 13 minutes over second place). From Saturday’s second stage, it was pretty clear that he was going to win, barring disaster, since his usual top-tier national competitors were all absent for this event.

Subaru WRX ARA rally car

This completely dampened my enjoyment. none. The rally is so spectacular that as long as you can see the cars it doesn’t matter who wins. I followed the Subaru media team as we moved from stage to stage, scouting out the right spots for shots and videos.

My main goal was to shoot stories for the Engine1 Instagram page (we’ll have a highlight this week) but since I love photography so much, I also brought a camera.

Olympus Rally 2024
Olympus Rally 2024
Olympus Rally 2024

This turned out to be a wise choice! Despite extreme temperature changes (it dropped 30 degrees in an hour) and traditional Pacific Northwest intermittent showers all day, good photos were easy to get. Given that the ARA runs the Olympus Rally as both a regional amateur event and a national professional event, the diversity of the peloton was absurd, with everything from old Volvos and Escorts flying through the forest to an Impreza STI replaced by a Ferrari.

Olympus Rally 2024

My favorite sight, however, always had to be the Pleiades soaring through the forest 15 feet in front of me. What a spectacular sight. The wait to attend my first rally was definitely worth it. My biggest complaint is that I didn’t prepare enough! I hope to return next year with more cameras, a car to camp in and a a lot best raincoat. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the shots I received this year!



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