The opening Heat of the Scouts Rally SA may have only been three stages, but it was enough for Scott Pedder to stretch his legs on, grabbing the victory by 12.5 seconds over Brendan Reeves with hometown hero Jack Monkhouse third.

The tricky wet conditions that the crews had encountered during this morning’s ARMOR ALL Power Stage continued throughout the day, with drivers reporting huge stretches of standing water.
“There was so much water, massive puddles everywhere. There was lots of water during recce, but no where near as much as we saw during this afternoon’s three stages,” said Scott Pedder. “There is nothing more exciting than aquaplaning at 160km/h!”
Despite the challenging road conditions Pedder grabbed a full nine second lead on the opening Dewells stage, before extending it by a further 4.1 seconds on the second stage.
On the third and final stage of the day though Pedder and co-driver Dale Moscatt found the windscreen on their Renault Clio fogged up, allowing Reeves to sneak past for the stage win by 0.6 seconds.
“I’m happy with how we went on those three stages, we proved that we’ve certainly got the pace, and now Brendan (Reeves) needs to find some overnight. I’m sure he’ll come out firing tomorrow though,” Pedder added.
Second placed Reeves suffered on the opening stage when the worst fear in wet conditions was realised. “About half way through we hit a water splash and the wipers stopped working, we had nothing for the rest of the stage.”
“After that I felt the Heat was over for me, I could have pushed on but unless Scott made a big error that was it. I had a go on the last stage though and it felt good to get the stage win, hopefully we can take that speed into tomorrow,” Brendan said.
5.2 seconds adrift of Reeves was third placed Monkhouse, the local rear-wheel drive ace happy to just reach the end of the Heat. “It’s the first time I’ve ever finished a Heat in this car, so I’m pretty excited about that!” he beamed.
“I had a small moment on one of the stages, I just ran a bit wide and out braked myself and that dented my confidence for a couple of kilometres. It was very hard today, hard to read the road because bits that looked very wet actually had good grip.”
Monkhouse had another major moment over a jump he’s made famous in the Forties stage when he crested the leap at speed to find a sponsorship sign in his way. “That was a bit scary, and quite dangerous because these things aren’t there during recce and then suddenly you’re flying and there is a metal sign in the way!”
In the Team Citroen battle Adrian Coppin had the upper hand today, finishing fourth, 43.4 seconds off the outright pace. “I’m pretty happy with today. I could have gone faster, but there is a long, long way to go in the rally. I know where I lost time, I know where I can speed up.”
Team mate Tony Sullens knew he’d had a bad day, despite finishing fifth, openly admitting that his times were disappointing. “I thought I’d drove well but the time was just not there. I’ve gone for quite a stiff suspension setup, and ran the wider Kumho tyre, which just didn’t suit the wet conditions today,” Sullens said.
“I’m thinking that our setup will come good the longer the rally goes on, if conditions start to dry out like they are forecast to,” he added.
Michael Boaden had a quiet day in his Volkswagen Polo, reporting that his newly installed engine was having breathing problems. “At the moment it’s using more oil than it should, we’re working on some fixes that we think will help, but we’ll probably have to keep topping the oil up over the weekend.”
While Alan Roe rounded out the ECB ARC regulars finishing seventh in his Ford Focus ST.
Neal Bates holds a sizable lead in the Classics after chief rival Jeff David ploughed off the road 900 metres into the opening stage. “We bogged it good, there was water up to the level of my window,” explained David’s co-driver Grant Geelan.
Bates led home Barry Lowe by over two minutes, with Lowe struggling with a damaged rear diff as he headed into service. Tasmanian Dave Thompson finished third in his Ford Falcon GTHO, while Clay Badenoch struggled with a broken ignition while Stewart Reid brought his Audi Quattro home at the rear of the field.
While in the National 4WD’s Henry Nott’s Mitsubishi Evo VI led Tim Ramages Mitsubishi Evo V by over one minute with Bill Monkhouse third in his Suzuki Vitara.
Tomorrow’s second Heat consists of ten stages including the 31.73km Tweeden and two passes around the spectator friendly 1.05km Gawler stage.

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