Shepheard pushing for ARC top three
- 26th May 2010, 8:56am
Shepheard and co-driver John McCarthy, aboard their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10, were wearing the colours of new sponsor SACHS for the first time, and were on track for an overall round podium, until gremlins struck in the second heat.
A strong fourth outright in the gruelling 170km heat one showed the SACHS Rally Team were on the pace and capable of a podium finish, however a blown turbo in the first stage of heat two meant the champagne will have to wait for another weekend.
Regardless, their fourth place in heat one and 12th place in heat two combined for a sixth overall for the weekend, and pushed the SACHS Rally Team to fourth outright in the championship standings coming into Scouts Rally SA on June 25-27.
"At the end of the rally, we may have realistically been second or third outright," lamented Shepheard.
"Then again, we'll never complain about sixth outright. It was a very exciting event, and we made some real progress.
"Throughout the rally we were running less than a second a kilometre off Simon (Evans) and Scott (Pedder) who were leading the rally, and that is definitely the closest we have ever been to them.
"With the series running the Kumho control tyres now, choosing the right tyre for road conditions is a must, and we went with the wider 900 tyre, but with the roads starting to chop up late Saturday, there were times the narrower pattern would have come in handy to keep the back end from skating around.
"That's just the way it was, and other than that, the car was fantastic."
With fourth from the first heat in the bag, the crew were full of optimism, but lost wholesale time when the car lost turbo boost.
"We made a quick decision to bring the car into service and change the turbo rather than contuine on in the stages, and the decision proved to be the right one.
"Just as we entered the service park, the throw out bearing in the drive train exploded and left us unable to change gears."
With only a two hour window to work with, there was not enough time to fix both turbo and bearing problems, so the crew fixed the throw out bearing and got the car back out for the afternoon stages and to gain valuable championship points.
"Despite the dramas on Sunday, we now know that we have the package to take it up to the leaders in the second half of the year," Shepheard said.
"Hopefully we put on a good show for SACHS, and we can do them proud in South Australia."
The SACHS Rally Team would like to thank SACHS, Albins Off Road Gear, Mitusbishi Ralliart, Accord Body Works and GSA Wholesale suspension for their continued support in season 2010. For more information on SACHS Rally Team is available on their website at www.gsarallyteam.com. Australian Rally Championship Standings after 3 of 6 rounds 1st. Simon Evans (Subaru WRX) 2nd. Scott Pedder (Mitsubishi Evo) 3rd. Ryan Smart (Toyota Corolla) 4th. Steven Shepheard (SACHS Mitsubishi Evolution X) 5th. Nathan Quinn (Mitsubishi Evo)
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