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Gooseberry Hill rally driver John O’Dowd has claimed his third podium finish of the year. Picture: GEMMA LUCAS

O’Dowd back in 2nd spot

JOHN O’Dowd of Gooseberry Hill has finished second at the Make Smoking History Experts Cup and jumped back into second place on the 2017 CAMS Onslow Contracting WA Rally Championship leaderboard.

The round four result was O’Dowd’s best of the WA championship season so far and his third podium finish of the year.

O’Dowd said sitting second in the championship, with just two events left for the season, was a great position to be in.

“We went out at Collie wanting to make up for the last round, and we did that,’’ he said.

Last month, O’Dowd and co-driver Ken Sheil were controversially penalised for a ‘checking-in error’ at the MRF Boddington Rally.

Despite logging an official protest, the pair, who were third fastest at the event, were denied a podium finish.

They also dropped to fourth on the championship leaderboard.

The Make Smoking History Experts Cup Rally was run in dry conditions and featured three stages, each run three times.

O’Dowd said the first run was pretty good.

“It was a little bit loose in places, but the roads got cut up a lot as the event went on.

“It meant, that, despite having a good set of notes, you were really heading into the unknown on the second and third runs.”

The event was won by his Maximum Motorsport teammates Brad Markovic of Kalamunda and Toni Feaver who are running in this year’s CAMS Australian Rally Championship.

O’Dowd said Markovic and Feaver deserved the win.

The next round of the WARC is two months away with the Wheels On Yirrigan Kumho Tyre Kirup Stages to be run in WA’s south west on Saturday, September 9.

With such a big gap between events, O’Dowd said he was likely to compete in WA premier tarmac rally, Quit Targa West, from August 10 to 13.

“I’m not sure what car I’ll drive yet,” he said.

By Elissa Macneall

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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