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Forest Rally winner, Mike Young, says his biggest challenge last weekend was getting used to a Group N car again, after recent seasons in an AP4 spec Toyota. Driving the ex-Dean Herridge Subaru WRX, Young defeated John O'Dowd by just 0.5 of a second on the slippery WA roads. "Going back to a Group N car was the biggest challenge," Young said. "There’s a massive difference in driving an AP4 and a Group N car, especially the brakes and suspension travel. It took a bit to adjust to, but by the end I was enjoying it once again. "It was great to battle with John, we traded times over the day and kept pushing each other. He has certainly stepped up the pace. "I can't thank Maximum Motorsport enough for their efforts over the weekend, the car was in awesome condition and great to drive. I'm glad I was able to return it without a scratch." The Kiwi was in second place for much of the 135 kilometre event, but when his arch rival and rally-leader, John O’Dowd, had an overshoot in his Skoda R5 on the penultimate 32 kilometre Wellington Dam stage, the gap between them was down to just 2.4 seconds.

Mike Young was second until the very last stage, taking victory in a borrowed Subaru. Photo: Matt Jelonek

Young saw his chance, putting the hammer down for the last 17-kilometre stage and taking an epic win. “Awesome. I just stole it at the end there, really lucky,” he commented. “We knew we were close to John going into the last stage and it was time for a big push. I felt pretty rusty at the start of the event with no rallies since October last year, and I hadn’t driven this car on gravel before. "We stuck to the plan to build our way up through the event, but 0.5 seconds was leaving it a bit close.” Co-driver Scott Beckwith was especially excited about the win, his first ever outright win in 76 events. “These are outstanding roads, and Mike's drive this afternoon was as good as any I have seen,” he said. “And what makes it even more special is that it is my home event, to have Mike and my name on that trophy with many of the best drivers this country has produced, really is a memory to treasure.”
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