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Reigning Australian Rally Champions, Justin Dowel and Matt Lee, return to the forest this Saturday for the George Derrick Memorial Rally, round two of the Victorian Rally Championship (VRC).

Dowel and Lee are not contesting this year’s national series, but are competing against each other at state level – Dowel in his championship-winning Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, and Lee at the wheel of a Holden Commodore.

After strong performances in the opening round, where Dowel won the event, they are looking forward to this weekend’s rally.

“The car has only needed to undergo a nut and bolt check prior to this weekend’s rally,” Dowel said.

“As the VRC does not use pacenotes, I’m hoping to improve my road reading skills from the previous event. But having said that, I’m not going out to take risks because if you get one corner wrong in a ‘blind’ rally, you’re off the road.”

Dowel has enlisted former state championship-winning co-driver, Scott Spedding, for the 2012 season, and the pair are working well together.

“Scott’s doing a really good job and has fit into the team well,” Dowel added. “We enjoy each other’s company and he’s very professional in everything he does.”

Dowel admits that he doesn’t have any great expectations for the all-daylight event, however coming away with another victory is the plan.

“The competition level in the VRC is really good, so we’ll need to be on our game.

“We know we have the speed to win, but I also don’t want to risk damaging my ARC-winning car, so it’s a bit of a balancing act.”

His regular co-driver, Matt Lee, will be partnered by Cathy Rainer and has been seeded as the fifth two-wheel drive car in the 35 car field of competitors.

Lee almost made it into the top 10 outright placings at the Begonia Rally in early March, and is looking forward to another solid result on Saturday.

“I love driving the Commodore, and while it’s not the most powerful car in the field, the more I’m behind the wheel the faster we go, so I can’t wait for this weekend,” Lee said.

“It would be great to get another good result for Activ RallySport, before Justin and I get our hands on the team’s two new Toyota Celica GT-Fours for the next round of the championship.”

The 2012 George Derrick Rally will be held around Heyfield, north east of Traralgon, commencing at 10am on Saturday morning.

Competitors will face eight stages with a competitive distance of 121 kilometres, before the finish at around 4.30pm.

Results can be viewed at: http://www.rallyresults.com.au/vrc/2012/mobile

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