The Activ RallySport team of Justin Dowel and Matt Lee have finished eighth in the first round of the Australian Rally Championship, despite a weekend that saw them suffer two gearbox failures.
Rally Tasmania was Dowel and Leeâ€™s first taste of tarmac rally action, and they performed impressively on a surface that they admitted was not as enjoyable as the gravel they regularly compete on.
After two gearbox failures on day two of the three-day event forced them to miss several stages, they bounced back today, capitilising on the ARCâ€™s pointscoring system to finish the weekend in eighth place.
â€œTo get a solid points haul was really important to start the year,â€ Dowel said. â€œWe were a little off the pace of where we wanted to be, but we have to remember that this is our first tarmac rally.
â€œOnce we get on to the gravel at the next event in Canberra, weâ€™re confident that we can be a lot closer to the leading teams and push for a podium finish.â€
Over the final dayâ€™s six stages, the Activ RallySport Lancer Evo IX performed well. A small drop in power was fixed by adjusting the water spray onto the turbo intercooler, and Dowel was able to push hard to the finish.
â€œWeâ€™ve had our problems this weekend, but weâ€™ve finished with a straight car, and that makes the preparation in the lead up to the next event in Canberra so much easier,â€ co-driver Matt Lee said.
â€œJustin drove well, and the team did an awesome job repairing the car during the weekend. It all bodes well for the rest of the season.â€
The second round of the Australian Rally Championship is the Rally of Canberra, to be held in the nationâ€™s capital on March 7 and 8.
Rally Tasmania â€“ final results
1. Neal Bates / Coral Taylor, Toyota Corolla S2000, â€¨1h39m22.1s
2. Simon Evans / Sue Evans, Toyota Corolla S2000, +10.5s 3. Eli Evans / Chris Murphy, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +36.4s 4. Brendan Reeves / Rhianon Smyth, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +2:40.0s â€¨
5. Glen Raymond / Matt Raymond, Toyota Corolla Sportivo, +2:48.4s
1 Bates 77
2 Evans 71
3 E. Evans 60
4 Raymond 50
5 Reeves 46
6 Lowndes 41
7 Herridge 39
8 Dowel 31
Pic: Joel Strickland
VIP Exclusive Content
- Full access
- Exclusive news
- Store & Tour discounts