Back-to-back WA rally titles for O’Dowd
John O’Dowd has won back-to-back Western Australian Rally Championship titles after they dominated the Kirup Stages Rally.
O’Dowd was able to jump the field from the first stage, grabbing a handy 13 second lead. And with the wet and slippery conditions suiting the Skoda R5, O’Dowd gradually increased the lead during the day to a minute and 42 seconds by the end of the final stage.
“I’m really happy with how it all went,” a pleased O’Dowd said.
“It was really wet and slippy. The main issue today was the inconsistency of the grip. A couple of times we overshot corners. You go into a corner and it looked fine, but there would be very little grip.
“Having just got back from Rally Tasmania where it was wet and slippery, it helped us a lot. We’ve now got a bit of extra wet weather practice under our belts.
“It’s certainly been a great year. It looks like we’ve got the championship with two rounds to go. I’m really happy to have done it with Toni.
“She’s made an incredible difference inside the car, and is really one of the best co-drivers in the country. Race Torque, who prepare the car, have done a really professional job with the Skoda all year. I couldn’t be happier.”
O’Dowd’s Race Torque team now has a busy schedule ahead of it to prepare the car for Targa West.
“We ran the car at Targa South West earlier in the year, and it showed that we are down a bit in terms of straight-line speed compared with some of the purpose built tarmac rally cars.
“We’ve got a couple of tweaks for the car, but if it’s dry then we might still struggle. I’m really hoping we get a bit more rain! Rain might just play into our hands. If the roads are dry, we’ll struggle on some of the straights.
“But a bit of rain may bring the faster cars back to us, and we should be able to capitalise on the tighter, twistier stages.”
Targa West begins on Thursday August 8, with four days of tarmac rallying. The ceremonial start takes place at Forrest Place, followed by competitive stages at Whiteman Park, Muchea and Ellenbrook.