COMPETITORS will have their eye on the prize in the third round of the Onslow Contracting Western Australian Rally Championship (WARC), the MRF Tyres Boddington Rally on Sunday, June 3.
There are 35 competitors who will tackle eight stages over 130.72 competitive kilometres in and around Boddington situated about 130 kilometres southeast of Perth.
Only 56 points separate the top three competitors in the outright championship.
Gooseberry Hill Maximum Motorsport’s John O’Dowd leads the WARC Drivers Standings on 176 points, followed by CASA Security’s Stephen Oxley on 146 points and another Maximum Motorsport driver Brad Markovic of Kalamunda sits in third on 120 points.
Subaru driver O’Dowd claimed victory at WARC’s opening event, finished second at the Make Smoking History Forest Rally and has now shifted his focus to the WARC title.
“This year has been fantastic in the state series, and I’d love to add a WARC title to the trophy cabinet,” he said.
“So the decision to miss Canberra (a round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship that clashes with Boddington) was pretty easy to make.
“I just have to make sure I bank the maximum possible points at Boddington.
“Steven Oxley has been really strong competition this year.”
O’Dowd has had co-driver Tom Wilde calling the notes during the first two rounds and this time will have Toni Feaver sitting beside him, Markovic’s usual co-driver, as Wilde is away in the USA.
O’Dowd’s title campaign could be a little easier without pressure from Markovic who took a clean sweep of round two of the WARC, the Make Smoking History Forest Rally in April.
“It’s not a decision I’ve taken lightly, but I’ve decided to miss the next few WARC rounds,” said Markovic, who injured his back in a rally accident last year.
“My back needs more time to heal and as much as I love nothing more than driving rally cars, it’s not good for my back in its current state.”
Markovic recently sold his production-based Subaru WRX STI and is reported to be looking at options for a new car including moving up to an R5 category rally car.