Owen: tight at the top of ARB Off-Road Racing Series standings

WARRNAMBOOL driver Glenn Owen hopes to maintain his flawless record when he ventures north for round three of the ARB Off-Road Racing Series.

Owen and navigator Matthew Ryan enter the Griffith 400 this weekend with back-to-back wins to start the 2014 series.

They lead the overall standings with 150 points, thanks to victories at Broken Hill and Sea Lake. Mannerim driver Carl Haby is second, three points behind.

The Griffith 400 asks drivers and navigators to qualify tomorrow morning before tackling section one, an 80-kilometre loop, in the afternoon.

Sections two and three —both 160 kilometres — are on Sunday. Collective time taken to complete the three sections will determine the winners.

Owen, 45, said the course used land owned by the Ryan family farm at Stackpoole, 70 kilometres north-west of Griffth, which gave the pair a prerace advantage.

But he said knowledge of the terrain meant little if their Jimco buggy, powered by a Nissan V6 twin-turbo engine, had problems over the two days.

Engine reliability was crucial in their two wins to open the series. But a failure in one of the last three rounds will all but end their title hopes.

“You’ve got to get through the event. We’re not even halfway through the series. All you need is one problem (to fall back),” Owen said.

“The points structure is so tight you can’t afford to have a DNF.

“We’ve had two wins. The guy who is in second position, he’s had a second and a third and he’s three points behind us. There’s no room for error.”

Owen said the ARB series, introduced in 2012 and with races in four states, was a welcome addition to the off-road racing calendar.

The series runs alongside the Australian Off-Road Championship, the biggest competition the sport has to offer but with greater demands on competitors.

“I just find this (ARB) series is a lot more friendly than the national series, there’s a lot of travelling to do the national series,” Owen said.


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