Maximum Motorsport driver John O'Dowd is geared up for attack in the 2018 West Australian Rally Championship. After finishing runner-up in the 2017 championship, O’Dowd’s eyes are set firmly on a state title. “I've got some unfinished business in the state series”, said O’Dowd as he and the Maximum team made final preparations for this weekend’s event. “I came within two points of winning last year, so I'll be going all out to claim the title this year. I’ve retired last years car, and I’m in a later model Subaru Impreza STI. "It does have a different feel from the old car. But I contested the first round of the ARC (Australian Rally Championship) in the new car, so we have some valuable competitive miles under our belts.” “Also, we’ve elected to run the MRF tyres for the state series that we use in the ARC. So we’ll benefit from having that consistency. Overall I think the whole package is stronger than last years car.” Based near Nyamup, east of Manjimup, the Trade Hire Karri Rally is the first round of the 2018 state series, which includes six rounds in various locations of south-west Western Australia. Last year, O’Dowd narrowly missed the title, with his former Maximum Motorsport team-mate Tom Wilde taking the WARC championship. But for the Trade Hire Karri Rally and the ‘Make Smoking History’ Forest Rally in April, rivals once again become teammates, with Wilde stepping in as co-driver. “It will be great to have Tom back in the car. Tom and I have teamed up in the past, and it will be great having him back in the car. Ken (Shiel), my regular co-driver for the last couple of seasons, is tied up with work commitments at the moment. So while it’s disappointing to not have him here, having Tom step in as co-driver is great. I’m really looking forward to it.” The Trade Hire Karri is based south of Manjimup on March 24, while the 'Make Smoking History' Forest Rally is the second round of the ARC and starts on 27 April with stages around Busselton and Nannup.
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