Eddie Maguire has received a major boost towards his Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) charge, having secured a Skoda Fabia Evo R5 for the rest of the 2023 season.
The Tasmanian has officially secured the Skoda that Troy Dowel has driven in the opening two rounds of the season, along with a trailer from Melbourne Performance Centre that he will use to transport the car to the remaining four rounds.
With plenty of speculation that Dowel’s Activ Rallysport team will debut their much-awaited Proto Car from Queensland onwards, Maguire will get his maiden ARC run in the car at next month’s Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland.
The Fabia will be Maguire’s third car of the season, having started the first two rounds aboard Subaru machinery in the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup.
“We are very excited with this purchase, and we intend to run Rally Queensland in it, as well as the rest of the season,” Maguire said.
“We had always intended to get a top level car and we knew there were some available both here and overseas, but the trailer was the tricky part.
“It all happened very fast to be honest. There had been some initial conversations with a few people after we had publicly expressed interest in upgrading, but then Justin (Dowel) contacted me to discuss it further.
“When we had worked out the trailer, Justin was just five minutes down the road, so we rushed over and checked out the Skoda before agreeing on a deal – it was all about being in the right place at the right time and now we own the Skoda.
“It was a no brainer to be honest. The Skoda is one of the most proven cars in the world. The brand is great with parts, their setups are proven, and they often top the charts.
“Seeing someone like Troy, who has only done about 15 rallies, do well in this car was also confidence boosting that I am making the right call.”
Maguire has been one of the standout performers so far this season, finishing the opening two rounds of the season in the top five.
A fifth place on his West Australian debut at the Make Smoking History Forest Rally proved he is capable of mixing it with the best in Australia.
While Maguire was invited to steer the Buckby Motors Subaru for Launceston and the Craig Brooks Subaru in the Forest Rally, Maguire’s Fabia will be his own machinery outright. The new purchase will undoubtedly elevate the already-talented steerer to a new level, with his ability to get results in Production Cup trim already on show.
However, Maguire was under no illusions that an instant rise up the order would happen with a lot of work still required before he can start challenging for outright wins.
“I am definitely excited about getting the better car but I am not putting too much pressure on results this year – for me it’s just about learning the rallies and getting used to a new car,” Maguire explained.
“Hopping into a Subaru and being quick straight off the bat is one thing, but getting into a foreign car that’s much quicker is another thing. Even though they are faster and better overall, they are still foreign to me so it’s going to take a while to get used to.
“Quite simply, I am going to have to change my driving style.
“I had a turn of Luke Anear’s car in Tassie and it’s a completely different type of car. You can’t be as flamboyant as the Subarus, and you have to be neat and tidy.
“So, with that said, this year is going to be purely a learning year. We already know how to steer left-hand drive cars due to the experience with the Viper, but we want to get familiar with different roads and stages at events we haven’t been to.
“Therefore, we have no plans or expectations to win rallies but we definitely have more to give and once we get more experience, we will have a full crack next year and hopefully challenge for some good results
“We’re also planning to find an identical car for Stephen (Maguire) so we can run an interchangeable program, which will benefit both of us.”
Maguire’s debut in the car will be the Pirtek Rallye Natone, which is the second round of Motorsport Australia Tasmanian Rally Championship, later this month before contesting the Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland in Gympie on 21-23 July.