Images: Tim Allott.
THERE SIMPLY WAS NO MATCH for John O’Dowd’s Skoda Fabia R5 as the recent Trade Hire Karri Rally blasted through 100 competitive kilometres along West Australian forest roads around Nyamup, south of Perth.
The Skoda proved the most powerful car on gravel in the second round of the CAMS Zestino Tyres Western Australian Rally Championship.
Victors WARC leader O’Dowd and co-driver Toni Feaver had a clean sweep of stage wins in their Truck Wholesale WA Skoda. Ben Searcy and Jimmy Marquet were second in their Swift Motorsport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 (below), from father and son Stephen and Archa Oxley in their CASA Security Subaru Impreza WRC STI.
O’Dowd had no doubts his car gave him an edge – after all the R5 is a level below a World Rally Championship car and is used in Europe in WRC2 events!
“I’m becoming more familiar with the car and I definitely feel like I have an advantage – on the long straights we reached speeds in excess of 180 kilometres per hour,” the Gooseberry Hill resident said.
“The car is awesome. The stages were good, especially the first two – the third one was narrow and sandy. We had a good clean rally, which was tight technical in some parts and I believe I can go faster.”
According to Ben Searcy: “John drove exceptionally well, he deserved the win. We were running further down the order and copped a bit of dust; the second run of stages was difficult because it was very dusty. I couldn’t see 15 metres in front of me!”
Third place finisher Oxley recruited his 20-year-old son at the last-minute after his usual co-driver broke his ankle. “Archa has done lots of co-driving in the past but not with me and he did a very good job,” Oxley said.
“We were the first car on the road which was slippery and we were quite ambitious trying to catch the Skoda R5, but our ambition faded when we clipped a log at the water splash and badly bent the suspension, making handling difficult. During service we got a spare part from Maximum Motorsport which made the suspension fifty per cent better, but still the handling was bad. We finished the last three stages and were able to finish in third overall, which is a good result.”
Razman Vlad with his wife and co-driver Ioana Vlad won the 2WD category in their MAXYRally Ford Fiesta (above), ahead of Andrew Pinker and Caleb Ash in a Hyundai Excel. Glenn Alcorn and Shaun McMacken brought their Alcorn Body Repairs Ford Escort home in third.
Ioana used to call notes but stopped seven years ago. Karri was her first rally back in the left-hand seat. “She enjoyed it and is going to jump in again at Boddington,” Razman said. “It was difficult in some spots because of the dust, but we didn’t go off, so obviously Ioana did a good job.”
With no other contenders, the sole entrants of the Clubman Cup and Clubman Masters are both winners of their class, taking maximum points.
Competing in the Cup, Stephen Vass and Ashely Burton in their Titan Ford Datsun 1600 completed the Clubman Cup Class, while Lance Stringer and Chris Parish took out the Masters in the Lawnswood Nissan Silvia.
Round 3 of the WARC is the MRF Tyres Boddington Safari on Sunday June 2.
For more information and results visit www.rallywa.com.au
EDITED by AC