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When Justin Dowel lines up for next week’s Scouts Rally SA it will mark his fourth different car in as many events. Rally.com.au chatted with the 2011 Australian Rally Champion on his own personal game of musical chairs.

Straight to the point, what’s the story with Justin Dowel? Between the season ending Rally Victoria last year and the upcoming Rally SA he will have entered four events in four different cars, including a front-wheel drive VW Polo, a Datsun Stanza, a Can-Am Side-by-Side and now a return to his Championship winning Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.

“To be honest I’m trying to find what I want to do rallying in,” Justin said. “When I won the Australian Championship in 2011 I achieved all the goals I’d ever set myself in the sport, so I’ve basically been searching for my next challenge.”

“I did some Victorian State Rounds last year and I just didn’t enjoy myself as much as I used to, so I decided to spend this year finding out what I want to do so I can go into next year focused,” he added.


Dowel was the instigator of the arrival of the Volkswagen Polo’s being driven this year by Mick Patton and Michael Boaden, and while Dowel had planned to be campaigning a third Polo this year delivery delays sidelined that idea.

“At the start of the year I was going to be in Canberra in the VW that Michael (Boaden) has been driving. When the car Michael was due to drive was delayed I felt it wasn’t fair to impact his Championship defense so I elected to let him drive the car.”

“At this stage it’s likely the VW we’re waiting on will arrive soon and that I’ll finish the year in that car. I’d also say it’s likely that I’ll focus on driving that car next year,” Dowel continued.

So with experience in a variety of cars what has Dowel made of his game of musical chairs?

“I’m looking forward to being back in the 4WD for Rally SA. It has the speed and the power and that appeals to me. If the outright Championship was still for Group N cars I don’t think I’d be interested, but the unrestricted cars are a barrel of fun to drive!”

“The SxS I ran at the Forest Rally was a huge amount of fun to drive too, but for very different reasons. It felt like a real adventure, although it was a bit bland driving them on normal rally roads, the fun bit was when they were put through a bit more of what you’d call off-road conditions.”

“The front-wheel drive Polo is a lot more volatile to drive, that’s what makes it exciting. You have to work hard to get the best out of them and as a driver that’s rewarding when it works, but it can be incredibly frustrating when it doesn’t!”
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