Subaru driver John O’Dowd has completed the first round of the Australian Rally Championship, the Courier Eureka Rally, in 10th place. In what was arguably the strongest field seen in an ARC sprint round for a few years, the top ten placing was a positive way to begin the season.
Run near the regional Victorian centre of Ballarat, the event featured fast country roads and dry and dusty conditions. And although the conditions were perfect for rallying, the West Australian struggled to find a good rhythm during the two day event. “It was just one of those weekends”, said O’Dowd at the completion of two hard days of rallying.
“I really struggled to find a good feeling in the car. I’ve moved into a new Subaru Impreza STI this year, and it has a very different feel from the 2007 Subaru I’ve campaigned for the last couple of years.”
“On the positive side, we managed to complete the event. So even though we struggled a bit this weekend, we’ve still banked championship points. This series is really even, really competitive. So every point counts and can make a difference at the end of the season.”
O’Dowd and the Maximum Motorsport crew now have three weeks to prepare for the Trade Hire Karri Rally, the first round of the WA Rally Championship. “Although we’ll be busy getting the car back to Perth to prepare for the first round of the WARC, it provides us the opportunity to get some more experience in the car before the Forest Rally at the end of April. Plus, I’ve got some unfinished business in the state series. I came within two points of the winning last year, so I’ll be going all out to claim the title this year.”
The Trade Hire Karri is based south of Manjimup on March 24, while the ‘Make Smoking History’ Forest Rally is the second round of the ARC and starts on 27 April with stages around Busselton and Nannup.
John O’Dowd is supported by Knightcorp Insurance, Pacific Finance, Rent WA and Truck Wholesale WA.
Photo courtesy of Aaron Wishart