At the start of the season, Javier Olivares didn’t know. He just wasn’t sure. The car was still new and he was happy staying out west. Seven months on and he’s conquered the Ford Fiesta Rally3 and he’s a National champion.
The decision to go nationwide for the first time in his career was a good one.
Olivares switched his Ford Escort Mk3 for a far more modern Fiesta Rally3 towards the end of 2022. Finishing top-six overall on the Tour de Forest was a good start, but 2023 was where the focus sat.
Skipping Sno*Drift, he opened the year with a 100 Acre Wood debut and again posted a top-six overall and second in L4WD. Then came the more familiar territory of Olympus and another second in class before a maiden category win in Oregon. The championship was beginning to look interesting.
“I wasn’t sure when we started that first event [100 AW],” Olivares told DirtFish. “This year was all about learning the car and driving faster and faster. I didn’t really think too much about the limited [four-wheel drive] class.
“For me, it was one rally at a time. The season kind of evolved for us, we climbed out of the points deficit and then thought more about the championship and kept going. The team was always more invested in [competing in] the championship than I was – for me it was learning the car. I was so happy to take the title, especially for everybody in the team; it’s been a huge effort.”
Having demonstrated the speed to beat all of America in a Limited four-wheel drive car, will Olivares be back to defend the title next season?
“Definitely thinking about it,” he said. “That’s the idea. Let’s see. LSPR was an amazing way to finish the season, with another overall podium. I’m happy.”
Olivares’ pace across the second half of the year was one of the talking points of the 2023 Green APU ARA. Contesting events he’d never been to before, he stood on the podium in Oregon, Ojibwe and LSPR. In Detroit Lakes in August, only overall champion Brandon Semenuk stood above him on the podium as he took a career-best second overall.
While the Fiesta Rally3 still new to him, Olivares has ambitions to look further – eyeing the potential for a Rally2 ride.
“I’ve still got a little room to grow in the Rally3 yet,” he said, “but the move to Rally2 is definitely something I would like to do in the future.”