O’Dowd and co-driver Toni Feaver’s rally began well after a radiator issue forced their retirement at the last round. They won the opening two stages to clear their rivals by a small margin. It would be a lead they’d never relinquish.
Series leader, Ben Searcy, started the day slowly, and after the first two stages, was in fourth.
He then stepped it up on the treacherous Yeticup stage, which remarkably caused some cars to flood during the morning’s Reece.
Young Max McRae’s recce car was well and truly soaked …
Searcy took almost eight seconds out of the rest of the field over the stage’s 21.38 kilometres to close the gap to leader O’Dowd.
Craig Rando was behind, and was doing more than just keeping his rivals honest.
He’d taken three second fastest stage times and was less than five seconds off the lead. It was a performance worth noting in an older Subaru Impreza WRX.
There were just two stages after the midday break. The final test was cancelled due to the aforementioned wet conditions, however, it did little to dampen the spirit.
After those final stages there was less than 13 seconds separating the top three at the end of the event.
O’Dowd and his Skoda had clinched the victory, with Searcy in second, just eight tenths ahead of a fast finishing Jack Flanagan.