John O’Dowd has made the perfect start to the 2018 West Australian Rally Championship, with victory at the Trade Hire Karri Rally.
Based near to Nyamup in the south-west of WA, the Trade Hire Karri Rally took in 118 kms of stages on Saturday, using roads that haven’t appeared in the state series for over 30 years.
That leveled the playing field for all of the competitors. But John O’Dowd and co-driver Tom Wilde were up to the challenge, taking victory in the first round of the WARC series, winning the event by more than a minute and 17 seconds from Stephen Oxley who held off a late charge from Nic Box.
“It’s a great result and the perfect way to start the championship”, John commented at the end of Saturdays seven forest stages. “We won three stages today, and was second-quickest on the others. The longer stages really suited our Maximum Motorsport Subaru. We won both passes of the 35km stage, even though the roads were starting to ‘cut up’ become pretty dusty during the afternoon.”
“Plus, it was fantastic to be rallying in an area we’ve never competed in before. It was new to all the competitors. But I’ve been working on our notes and really committing to them, and I think that showed in the final result. Tom (Wilde) is a really professional co-driver, and slotted in perfectly to the role. To win with that margin after just seven stages was really pleasing and gives up a lot confidence going into the Forest Rally.”
John, Tom and the Maximum Motorsport crew now have four weeks to prepare for next round of the Australian Rally Championship, the ‘Make Smoking History’ Forest Rally which starts on 27 April.
“The Forest Rally will be another key event for us. It was important to get a good result here to kick-start our WARC campaign. But at the Forest Rally we’ll be competing for both ARC points and state points.”
John O’Dowd is supported by Knightcorp Insurance, Pacific Finance, Rent WA and Truck Wholesale WA.
Photo: Gemma Lucus, Drift Images