Dowel focussed on 2011 ARC title win
- 8th November 2011, 11:04am
With just three points separating Dowel and series leader, Ryan Smart, there’s all to play for, with both drivers eyeing off their first national title.
Quite simply, whichever driver finishes in front after the two days will be crowned the 2011 Bosch Australian Rally Champion.
Dowel, with respected co-driver, Matt Lee, calling the pacenotes, is as relaxed as he can be heading into the biggest event of his career, and knows that only a trouble-free performance will secure him the title.
“Without a doubt, we know that our first priority this weekend is to get to the finish,” Dowel said.
“Our goal is to drive as quickly as possible, but also to ensure that we get through every one of the 15 stages cleanly.
“We can’t control how fast Ryan (Smart) drives, but we can control our pace, and that’s priority number one.”
Smart will have a slight advantage over the course of the weekend, starting three places behind Dowel on the road, and being able to monitor the Victorian’s times. However, Dowel is unconcerned.
“Whatever will be, will be. It’s one of those things we can’t control, so it’s not worth wasting any nervous energy on it,” he added.
“We’ll have last year’s champion, Simon Evans, in front of us on the road, so that will give us a good indication of our speed and how hard we should be pushing.”
Dowel and Lee had a successful test in their Activ RallySport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX two weeks ago, and came away feeling upbeat about the improvements they have made to the car.
After winning the South Australian round of the championship, they had a disappointing run at the previous round in Coffs Harbour, with mechanical problems and a roll putting them out of podium contention.
“After the last round, we’ve taken quite a lot of the tune out of the engine in order to give us more low down torque,” Dowel explained.
“That’s made the car more driveable and allows us to go into corners in higher gears.
“We’ve also softened up the suspension for this event, and we’re really happy with the way the car is set-up for the weekend.”
After heavy rain mid-week, the weather forecast is for fine and sunny conditions in and around Warragul this weekend, but Dowel is not phased what the weather does.
“The conditions were really treacherous last year and we thrived in them, so I don’t really mind if it’s wet.
“However, I’d much prefer it to be dry as those conditions suit our car more and allow us to make the most of the horsepower advantage we have.”
Rally Victoria gets underway on Friday afternoon with six stages and a distance of 73.88 competitive kilometres making up the first Heat.
Heat 2, on Saturday, will see Dowel and Lee take on a further nine stages and 136.22 competitive kilometres in their bid to win their first Bosch Australian Rally Championship.
The event’s feature stage will be the two runs around the spectator-oriented Lardner Park test, which concludes both days of the event.
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