Targa West Rally: 7th place for Gooseberry Hill driver O’Dowd


John O’Dowd in the Targa West rally. Picture: Targa West/Tim Allott
John O’Dowd in the Targa West rally. Picture: Targa West/Tim Allott

GOOSEBERRY Hill rally driver John O’Dowd switched gravel for tarmac in last weekend’s Quit Targa West, and finished seventh.

O’Dowd tackled WA’s premier tarmac rallying event in the same Subaru WRX STI in which Maximum Motorsport team manager Dean Herridge won the 2011 Australian Targa Championship.

“That car has some great history with tarmac rallying and it was a privilege to be the only other person who’s driven it in competition,” O’Dowd said.

While conditions were challenging for the 240km rally over 34 stages in Perth, the hills and Toodyay, O’Dowd said the car ran like a dream.

He said he got a feel for the car during the Wanneroo and Malaga stages on the first day, August 11, then his confidence grew for Saturday’s stages in Toodyay and Bullsbrook on Saturday.

“I think those were the stages that best suited the car and my driving style,” O’Dowd said.

Heading into the final day of competition, he and co-driver Philip Conneely were locked in a battle with fellow hills resident Tim Wolfe, of Kalamunda, who drove a Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

“We went into Sunday morning’s tight and technical Malaga stages 26 seconds behind him, but after the three runs, we were 21 seconds in front,” O’Dowd said.

After the final stages on Riverside Drive, O’Dowd claimed seventh place.

He will now turn his focus back to gravel roads for round five of the WA Rally Championship on September 9.

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