Frustrating gearbox gremlins made life difficult for Steve Shepheard and John McCarthy on the Rally of Tasmania, as the GSA Wholesale Suspension Rally Team had its first ever hit out in an all tarmac event.

Despite the problems which restricted the crew to the bottom half of the top ten throughout the rally, there were many positives to come from the event.

"It was very difficult making the transition from dirt to tarmac, it was probably a bit harder than we expected because the speeds are so much faster through the corners," said Shepheard.

"I was initially a bit gutted with the stage times, but as the weekend progressed we made massive gains on the leaders, which was very satisfying."

Saturday's leg two competition saw the car spend much of the running without the use of fourth and fifth gear, dramatically cutting into the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X's potential top speed.

"With some downhill sections we found it quicker to actually put the car into neutral and coast, because it was really hard on the engine by revving it hard in third gear," said Shepheard.

"On the Saturday overnight service we were able to change the gearbox, but we then had a flat tyre on Sunday which we had to drive out of a stage with, so that cost us even more time.

"The car was running fantastically well, if it wasn't for the little dramas along the line, we would have definitely had a better points haul for the event.

"At the end of the day the pace of the leaders was incredible, and with the Evo X running on harder compound tyres it didn't help, but we certainly now have a baseline to work with on future tarmac events.

"I've got a lot more respect for tarmac rallying now, and I can't wait to come back next year."

The crew can now focus their efforts on Quit Forest Rally in Western Australia, which is scheduled for April 16-18.

With a tight turn around time frame between events, the crew will be working over time to change the car's setup from tarmac rally trim into full gravel mode.

One area the crew will pay particular attention to is the weight of the car, with more speed to be achieved with a substantially lighter machine.

The GSA Wholesale Suspension Rally Team would like to thank OZ Tec Suspension, King Springs, Accord Body Works, CES Racing Systems, Albins Off Road Gear and Mitsubishi Ralliart for their continued support in season 2010.

For more information on GSA Wholesale Suspension Rally Team is available on their new website, www.gsarallyteam.com

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