Rally: O’Dowd claims podium place in opening round of WA Rally Championships


John O’Dowd at the Trade Hire Kin Kin Rally. Picture: Gemma Lucas/Drift Images
Rally: O’Dowd claims podium place in opening round of WA Rally Championships
John O’Dowd at the Trade Hire Kin Kin Rally. Picture: Gemma Lucas/Drift Images

JOHN O’Dowd finished on the podium in the opening round of the 2017 WA Rally Championship (WARC).

The Gooseberry Hill driver was third in the Kin Kin Rally, a nine-stage event run near Manjimup on Saturday.

“We were very happy to finish and come away with a decent haul of points,” he said.

O’Dowd, who last weekend finished ninth amongst a field of the country’s best competitors at the Australian Rally Championship (ARC) opener, Eureka Rally in Ballarat, said that event had been a great warm up for the WARC.

“Doing the Eureka Rally definitely did help,” he said.

“It was also my first event with new co-driver Ken Sheil and a great chance to get to know each other.”

The Kin Kin Rally featured three stages run three times and O’Dowd said the event “tight and technical”.

“The roads were great, but they got really cut up by the end of the rally and a lot of cars went off,” he said.

O’Dowd approached the first three stages of the rally with caution, then “same out harder”.

“We had a small issue at the end of stage four, so we were a little slower over stages five and six because the steering was very heavy,” he said.

Back at service, the team fixed the suspension-related problem and O’Dowd was straight back out for the final stages.

O’Dowd and Sheil will be back in action for round two of the WARC, the Make Smoking History Forest Rally, which will be around Busselton and Nannup from April 21-23.

The event is also a round of the ARC.

The week before, O’Dowd will also compete in the Bathurst Six Hour, teaming up with Jim Pollicina in a Mitsubishi Evo 10 for the Mount Panorama endurance race.

This will be O’Dowd’s 11th endurance race at Bathurst.