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Activ RallySport head into this weekend’s Rally of Canberra hoping to improve on their current eighth placing in the Australian Rally Championship.

After gearbox problems slowed their progress in round one of the championship in Tasmania last month, the pairing of Justin Dowel and Matt Lee are eager to get back onto the gravel in one of the championship’s most popular rallies.

Based in the nation’s capital, the Rally of Canberra has attracted the cream of Australian rallying, and the battle for a place in the top five will be hard fought.

Dowel and Lee head to Canberra confident of a good showing in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, with changes to the car’s suspension expected to make the car faster.

However a pre-event testing accident left the car battered and bruised, and gave the team plenty of late-night work in order to get repairs completed before Friday’s sponsor shakedown.

“It was an unfortunate accident during our test session, and meant that we couldn’t complete all the suspension testing we’d hoped to,” driver Justin Dowel said today.

“The car looked a bit second hand, but thanks to our dedicated crew and some amazing help from the Neal Bates Motorsport team, we have been able to get the car repaired and now can’t wait for the rally to begin.”

Despite the pre-event crash, Dowel and Lee are still aiming for a top five finish in the Rally of Canberra, which will be conducted over 10 special stages and 177 competitive kilometres.

“Of course we’re not as well prepared as we had hoped to be,” co-driver Matt Lee said, “but we still think we can push for a top five result and improve on our points haul in the ARC.

“We haven’t come all this way and given our team extra work to go home early.

“At the last gravel event of 2008 we showed some really encouraging speed, and we hope we can take that into this weekend’s event.”

Thursday’s pre-event reconnaissance has shown that the Rally of Canberra stages will be typically rough and challenging, and a real test on the cars. The Lancer’s ruggedness is sure to be an advantage for the Activ RallySport team, with warm and dry weather predicted over the weekend.

This weekend also sees the official launch of Activ RallySport’s brand new website, which has been under construction over the past few months. With an emphasis on the team’s fans, the site will include regular updates on the team during events, as well as rally photos and video clips of the team in action.

Visit the new Activ RallySport website at: www.activrallysport.com.au/home

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