John O’Dowd starts next week’s Forest Rally with two goals in mind; to finish as high as possible to move up the Australian Rally Championship leaderboard and to maintain his lead in the Western Australian Rally Championship. The Forest Rally is both a round of the ARC and WARC, so O’Dowd will be competing against national teams in the ARC and local crews in the Western Australian series. The Perth-based driver is full of confidence, coming off a victory at the opening round of the WARC, the Trade Hire Karri Rally. “The Karri Rally was a great confidence boost for me,” O’Dowd commented. “I think it’s fair to say I was little bit rusty at the first round of the ARC in Ballarat. It was difficult to find a good rhythm, and that was reflected in the final result.” “‘Karri’ has provided a bit of extra confidence. A win is always the best way to start the season, and I felt like I did a much better job inside the car as well,” he added.

John O'Dowd in action at the 2018 Eureka Rally. Photo: Luke Whitten

With regular co-driver Ken Sheil unavailable due to work commitments, John’s former Maximum Motorsport team-mate, Tom Wilde, has stepped in the co-driver’s seat for both ‘Karri’ and the Forest Rally. “It’s been really positive,” O’Dowd said. “Although there is a bit of adjusting required, Tom and I worked together really well at ‘Karri’.” “The Maximum Motorsport Subaru WRX STI was a good as ever, and our team worked together really well.” “I’m pretty confident we can pull off a good result against the ARC crews, and if I do that, I should be able to maintain the points lead I have in the WARC,” he concluded. The Make Smoking History Forest Rally is based the in the south-west of Western Australia, beginning on Friday April 27 with two passes of the Busselton waterfront Super Special stage, before moving to the forestry roads around Nannup on Saturday and Sunday.

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