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After six years of tough competition in the South Australian State Rally Championship the team of Russell Marker and Karien Heimsohn have secured the coveted South Australian Rally Championship.

This was achieved with a second place win in the fourth and final round of the championship in the Kuitpo Forest Rally, in their highly visible Subaru WRX STi .

Due to heavy rains in September in this southern South Australian Forest, the event was postponed for two months. Marker/Heimsohn were leading the Championship point score with 106.5 followed by Mitchell Hall/Janah McLean on 93 points.

The points awarded in this final round of the championship carried an extra 50% value so it was crucial to finish in the top 3 placings to secure the ultimate title win. Upon calculating several scenarios on points awarded on placing line ups, the State Championship could have gone to any one of 6 crews. This meant that Marker/Heimsohn still needed to put in a good performance.

The teams focus was on making sure that they did not finish more than one place behind Hall/McLean. They also had to keep an eye on the others as it had been an even competition all year.

Marker commented after that ‘He had to concentrate on being aggressive all day if it was to be a favourable podium finish at the end of the event.’ The forests muddy roads saw the team having several overshoots and sometimes leaving the road.   But in the last three stages where the roads were hard-packed and drying out, making for fast and flowing conditions, best suited the team.

Marker/Heimsohn were never far off the pace, taking 2 stage wins. Always hounding the others until they fell by the way side. Their main rival on points, Hall/McLean,  did not finish the event due to mechanical trouble. Rodda/Piristi having the same fate.

By holding his nerve, Russell Marker and co-driver Karien Heimsohn achieved their six year dream of winning the state championship. ‘The highlight of the day for us was seeing the finish line on the final stage and that feeling of exhilaration and relief, as we pumped the air.’

The second placing in the Forest Rally saw the team finish 55 seconds behind the event’s winner Gary Brown and Mike Dale from Mt Gambier. ‘Brown would be hard to beat in the forest as this is his domain coming from Mt Gambier.’ Marker commented. ‘He is so strong in these conditions’.  Brown/Dale’s  win here jumped them from sixth to 2nd in the championship.

The team would like to thank their supporters: The service crew, Willaston Auto Body Repairs, Lightforce Australia, Bob Jane T-Mart Gawler, S & J Automotive, Exhaust Technologies, Subareck, Chook’s Custom Graphix,  Autopro Gawler, Gawler Dry Cleaners.

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