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Justin Dowel has moved into third place at the end of the second day of Rally Tasmania, the first round of the 2010 Australian Rally Championship.

Dowel and co-driver Matt Lee had a brilliant day in their Activ RallySport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, finishing in the top five in all of the day’s eight special stages.

Their second quickest time on the penultimate stage of the day was faster than everyone except three-time national champion Simon Evans, highlighting the improvement in Dowel’s speed.

“We had a great day and we’re really happy with third place,” Dowel said.

“The car blew a head gasket early in the day and it’s been overheating since then, but we’ve managed it as best that we could.

“Rather than change the head gasket tonight, we’ve decided to do the best patch up job that we can, which will limit the risk of other problems if we pulled the head off,” he added.

“We’ll change the radiator and replace the thermostat and water pump, and hopefully that will get us through tomorrow.

While Dowel and Lee are third position overall, today's stages counted as one full heat of the ARC. Friday's stages counted for 50 per cent points of one heat, while tomorrow's stages also count towards 50 per cent of one heat.

“At this stage we’re on track for third place for the weekend, and hopefully we can maintain our speed tomorrow," Lee said.

“Justin has driven brilliantly today – the best he’s driven on tarmac – and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”

Scott Pedder leads Rally Tasmania in another Lancer, ahead of Simon Evans in a Subaru Impreza.

Last year’s championship runner-up, Glen Raymond, retired during the day with clutch problems in his Lancer, while Eli Evans struggled with punctures in his Honda Civic and dropped well down the leaderboard.

The final day of Rally Tasmania will see competitors contest another eight special stages, with a competitive distance of nearly 56 kilometres.

The rally finishes with two stages around the streets of Burnie, in front of an expected crowd of 5000 people.

Rally Tasmania, after Day 2
1. Scott Pedder / Jon Mortimer, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, 1:16:20.7
2. Simon Evans / Sue Evans, Subaru Impreza WRX, +33.0s
3. Justin Dowel / Matt Lee, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, +2:09.5s
4. Mark Pedder / Catherine Smallbone, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, + 3:02.3s
5. Ryan Smart / Rebecca Smart, Toyota Corolla Sportivo, +3:47.3s

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