Justin Dowel wins Rally of South Australia
- 31st July 2011, 7:21pm
Driving their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, the Victorians have moved into the championship lead after taking victory in both heats of the event, as their major rivals struggled to match their pace.
Having shown the speed to win a round of the championship for the past two seasons, Dowel finally came up with the goods on an event that hasn’t been kind to him in the past. Over the two days of the rally, he set the fastest time on nine of the event’s 15 special stages.
“The whole Activ RallySport team have been working very hard for this for the past four years, and the victory is as much for the team as it is for Matt and I,” Dowel said.
“We’ve had some ups and downs over the journey, but this weekend everything has come together and I’m rapt to be able to reward the guys with our first win.
“The car ran faultlessly this weekend and that allowed us to push hard when we needed to, and to ease our pace and consolidate our lead when required. I couldn’t be happier.”
Co-driver Matt Lee paid tribute to Dowel, and to the Activ RallySport team, led by John Down.
“Justin has driven superbly this weekend, and Johnny and the boys kept the car in tip-top condition throughout what has always been a challenging event for us,” Lee said.
“It’s quite a feeling to stand on the top step of the podium at the end of an Australian Rally Championship round, and hopefully this sets us up for even bigger rewards as the season progresses even further.”
Victory in the Rally of South Australia now puts Dowel and Lee first in the Bosch Australian Rally Championship with two rounds remaining.
Championship leader, Ryan Smart, was forced to retire his Toyota Corolla in Heat 1 with differential failure, but managed third in Heat 2, while Mark Pedder took second in Heat 1, but retired with engine failure during Heat 2.
“I think the victory will take a while to sink in, but it’s a relief to finally win a round of Australia’s premier rally championship,” Dowel added.
“The Activ RallySport team have well and truly earned this, and I’m sure that the celebrations will reflect this. However, we’ll soon have to start concentrating on the next round, which is the biggest rally on the calendar. We can’t wait!”
The next round of the ARC is the World Rally Championship event, Rally Australia, based at Coffs Harbour on the NSW mid-north coast between September 8 and 11.
2011 Rally of South Australia – Heat 2 results
1. Justin Dowel / Matt Lee, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, 53m14.5s
2. Michael Boaden / Helen Cheers, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, +41.3s
3. Ryan Smart / John Allen, Toyota Corolla Sportivo, +49.4s
4. Eli Evans / Glen Weston, Honda Civic Type R, +1m27.8s
5. John Goasdoue / Martin Darch, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, +3m42.5s
Bosch Australian Rally Championship pointscore (provisional)
After 3 of 6 rounds
1. Justin Dowel / Matt Lee, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, 208 points
2. Ryan Smart / John Allen, Toyota Corolla Sportivo, 187 points
3. Mark Pedder / Leigh Tierney, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, 168 points
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