Podium points for Dowel in ARC opener
- 13th April 2008, 7:30pm
Driving their Active Seal supported Mitsubishi Lancer, the team led by driver Justin Dowel and Co driver Matt Lee secured an amazing 4th outright during Saturdays Heat 1, followed by a consistent 9th during Heat 2. With some of the very experienced local hard chargers in front not registering for points, including WA champion Alex Stone, the Activ team acquired enough points to secure 3rd outright in the championship ahead of some much fancied competition.
“The team couldn’t have wished for a better start to their season. We had a plan to finish the rally hopefully in the top 10, if we had have finished in the top 5 we would have been over the moon but had not even considered top 3 knowing our priority was on learning the event and not fighting for results” said Justin.
Justin also said “We are pretty happy with our times in heat 1 considering we weren’t taking any risks and driving at around 8 tenths. We were only around a second a km off the pace of some of the top privateers which was really encouraging knowing what we have left. The times we set in heat 2 were not as flash as I was hoping, a few moments in the first stage gave us enough reason to focus on finishing and getting as many k’s under our belt as possible. Matt and I had a difficult job to do, we were the only team in the top ten who was writing their notes from scratch. To expect ourselves to be anywhere near the top guys was an unreal expectation. Thankfully we now have a really good set of base notes to build on for next year which was our sole strategy for the weekend”.
Justin also acknowledged the efforts of the team engineer John Down and crew. “Our car was basically a shell two weeks prior to the event - Johnny and the boys really put in the hard yards to get the car ready for a test in the week prior to Perth and then again to sort out the bugs and produce a competitive car that lasted the whole rally without a hitch”.
Discussing the result Matt Lee commented, “The experienced guys in front have been boxing on for years – as the new kids on the block we had no intention of throwing a punch in this early! We were warned how cruel the trip across the Nullarbor could be for first timers – we wanted to ensure that we maintained a conservative approach to learn the finer detail of the rally over the maximum distance possible”. “We know we have done just that and are very excited about the prospects of building our speed during the rest of our first year in the championship” he added.
With more improvements and testing planned in the near future, Activ Rallysport now shift their focus to the second round of the ARC held in conjunction with the Asia Pacific championship at Rally of Canberra, May 10th to 11th 2008.
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