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The penultimate round of the West Australian Rally Championship is shaping up to be an important battle in deciding the state champion for 2020. Truck Wholesale Skoda driver, John O'Dowd currently leads the championship and is looking forward to the fast (and hopefully dry) roads. “Karri is a good rally with some pretty fast roads,” O’Dowd said. “We’re just hoping for no rain and that the little Skoda has the legs to keep up. “We’re looking forward to a good battle with Mike Young and Ben Searcy again. There should be some close competition throughout the field.” Ben Searcy sits second in the championship chase and is ready to go despite the short turnaround.

John O'Dowd is currently leading the WA Rally Championship. Photo: Peter Whitten

“The three-week turn around (between Forest Rally and Karri Rally) was not ideal,” he said. "I’m very fortunate to have a great team of guys who spent last weekend re-preparing the car for this weekend. “It is something that we knew about before the last event, so it was important that we didn’t kill the car at Forest Rally and drove accordingly. “The roads of Karri Rally are super quick – it was my second rally in the car last year, so it was all very new." Craig Rando's Subaru is third in the championship, while Mike Young is fourth. Young will again drive the Maximum Motorsport Subaru he steered to victory at the Forest Rally. Glenn Alcorn and co-driver Jonathan Charlesson are only six points ahead of Michael Joss and Megan Logue, guaranteeing a close battle in the two-wheel drive event as well. Third-generation driver, Max McRae, will also be in action in his Fiesta alongside Bill Hayes. The event, based out of Manjimup, is a compact one, and Clerk of Course, Neil Trethowan, says his team have done great work to get the event up and running.

Max McRae driving his front wheel drive Ford Fiesta. Photo: Tim Allott

“This year we have two high-speed stages in-store – one approximately 22 kilometres long and the other 16 kilometres. We ran these stages last year, and it will be interesting to compare the field’s times from this year to last," he added. “There won’t be a spectator point on course this year, but the public is welcome to the service park in Manjimup to see the competitive cars gathered there. “We are a COVID-19 aware event, so we kindly ask that the public and competitors observe the health recommendations regarding social distancing and hygiene on the event.”
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