The overall result may not have been what Justin Dowel had been hoping for at the Quit Forest Rally in Western Australia, but there were plenty of positive signs to come out of the second round of the Australian Rally Championship.

Driving his Activ RallySport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, Dowel and co-driver Matt Lee took an outright stage victory, and finished in the top five in several others, proving their pace throughout the two-day event.

Based in Busselton, south of Perth, the Forest Rally stages were conducted to the south east in Nannup, and the slippery gravel roads once again created challenges for all competitors.

After yesterday’s driveshaft and centre diff problems, Dowel set off determined to finish in the top five in Heat 2.

Minor adjustments to the car’s suspension fine-tuned the handling and he was well placed mid-way through the day.

However, an off-road excursion on the sixth stage of the heat tore a front wheel off the Lancer and Dowel and Lee were forced out of the event.

“It’s a real shame, but we were pushing hard and sometimes these things happen,” Dowel said.

“We’ve shown really good pace this weekend, but WA is always a really challenging event and you can’t take things for granted.

“Despite today’s off, we can take some real positives from this weekend, and with only a three week turnaround between now and the next round in New South Wales, we’re looking forward with confidence.”

The Activ RallySport mechanics managed to fix the damaged Lancer and get it back into parc ferme by the end of the event, enabling Dowel and Lee to be classified as finishers. This will give them valuable points as the championship nears its half way mark.

The heat was won by Scott Pedder, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer, just 2.1 seconds in front of Simon Evans’ Subaru, with Ryan Smart third in a Toyota Corolla.

Quit Forest Rally
Final results (provisional)
1. Scott Pedder / Jon Mortimer, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, 1h04m8.9s
2. Simon Evans / Sue Evans, Subaru Impreza WRX, +2.1s
3. Ryan Smart / Rebecca Smart, Toyota Corolla Sportivo, +56.8s
4. Darren Windus / Jon Allen, Toyota Corolla S2000, +1m31.9s
5. Nathan Quinn / David Green, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, +2m15.2s

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