Activ RallySport driver, Justin Dowel, has finished second in a rain shortened Rally Victoria, the final round of the 2010 Australian Rally Championship.

After leading the event after the first day’s four stages, Dowel and co-driver, Matt Lee, set about building on their advantage on day two, moving further ahead of local ace Glen Raymond.

With rain falling and thick fog making driving difficult, Dowel’s Lancer Evolution IX continued to push for victory over the opening three stages of the day, before disaster struck.

While driving down the middle of the road, a length of wire wrapped itself around the right rear brake calliper of the car, puncturing the tyre. After driving on the flat tyre for seven kilometres in treacherous conditions, Dowel spun the Lancer, damaging the turbo intercooler.

The combined problems saw him drop nearly 40 seconds to Raymond, effectively ending any chance of victory

“It was very unfortunate, but there was nothing we could do about it,” Dowel said.

“We were on a real charge through that stage and we were hopeful that we could take some time out of Glen (Raymond), but it wasn’t to be.”

“At the end of the stage I had to cut about 10 metres of wire from around the rear brake calliper,” Lee added.

“It’s incredibly unfortunate, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Dowel bounced back on the following stage, the last before the lunch break, taking time off Raymond, but his victory charge was short lived.

Because of the consistent rain falling, organisers were forced to cancel the remaining forest stages, leaving only the one kilometre super special stage at Lardner Park to run.

“The cancellation of the afternoon’s stages was a real blow for us, as well as for the spectators,” Lee added.

“Justin was driving brilliantly this weekend, and we were confident of being able to claw the time back in the afternoon stages.

“But fate had other ideas and we have to settle for second.”

Raymond’s victory was his first ever at Australian Rally Championship level, while Dowel and Lee’s second place was their highest ever placing in a round of the national championship.

Rally Victoria, Final Results
1. Glen Raymond / Matt Raymond, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, 1h31m30.0s
2. Justin Dowel / Matt Lee, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, +40.2
3. Mark Pedder / Lee Tierney, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, +1m10.0s
4. Ryan Smart / Rebecca Smart, Toyota Corolla Sportivo, +2m03.6s
5. Leigh Hynes / Stuart Percival, Subaru Impreza WRX, +3m01.1s
6. Steve Shepheard / John McCarthy, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, +4m59.0s

Photo by Peter Whitten

  • More Rally Victoria photos will appear on tomorrow.

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