Having secured the move to a new set of wheels, Troy Dowel has enjoyed valuable seat time in the new Mitsubishi Mirage G4.
Running its first crucial test day around Thornton in Victoria earlier this week, Dowel completed more than 80 kilometres in the car as the Activ Rallysport team focused on collecting data and fine tuning the engine.
Unfortunately, wet weather prevented the team from ultimately exploring a range of set ups, however the main goal of giving Dowel a chance to drive the car was achieved and the young Victorian was thrilled how the day panned out.
“The test went very smoothly and I am extremely happy,” Dowel said.
“Normally you have issues with a car when you first run it, but the Mitsubishi ran almost perfectly, even in the challenging wet conditions – it felt easy to drive and I got to grips with it quickly.
“Our main aim was to give the car a shakedown and see how it runs, as well as collecting data and getting it to feel as comfortable as possible. We also wanted to try different spring rates in the rear of the car and test different setups.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t do too much with the set up because it’s hard to gauge on those sorts of road in those conditions, but the test was a success overall regardless. There wasn’t one problem with the car and that’s as much of a success as it can be.
“Everyone is happy with the car and the team has done an incredible job with the car. We are all super motivated to develop it and I am really excited to debut it later this month.”
As Dowel prepares to debut the Mirage at this month’s Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland, it will be his third car in less than 12 months – highlighting his ability to adapt to new cars.
For the 2022 Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) season, Dowel was running in a Hyundai i20 G4, before making the switch to a Skoda Fabia R5 for the opening two rounds of the 2023 ARC season.
Now having finally gotten the chance to lock in the Mirage, the 22-year-old will look to use the rest of this season to go to the next level, starting with the visit to Queensland.
“I have driven heaps of different cars throughout my life, so this new switch isn’t something new to me and I am quite prepared,” Dowel explained.
“But what does help though is that the Mirage is similar to what we ran last year – although it’s more refined as a lot of work has gone into improving every little bit.
“Driving it on the test day, I did notice there were a lot of similarities between the Mirage and both the Hyundai and the Skoda – the engine felt the same as the Hyundai, while the handling was closer to the Skoda.
“It kind of feels like I’m getting the best of both worlds, but a faster version with the Mirage so I am excited – I definitely think this can take me to the next level.
“The plan is to finish Queensland, get as much data as possible and even try and improve the car set up over the weekend.
“We want to make sure the car is reliable, so while we will be aiming for good results at every event this year, they won’t be our main focus.”
Dowel will debut the new Mitsubishi Mirage at the 2023 Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland, which takes place in Gympie on 22-23 July.