In a remarkable second and final day of competition in the Coffs Forest Rally, Queenslander Steve Shepheard has taken his first win in a round of the Bosch Australian Rally Championship while Ryan Smart edged back into the overall series lead despite a last minute driveshaft problem on the closing stages.

Smart looked to have the heat and overall rally wins in his grasp but a failed driveshaft just four stages from the finish saw him lose a solid 1 min 23 second lead to Shepheard who was able to power his Mitsubishi Evo X to the win 1 minute 3.5 seconds ahead of the Toyota driver .

Eli Evans posted another podium performance following his third place in the Honda Civic Type R at the previous round bringing the high revving front wheel drive car home 1 min 36.8 seconds behind Smart.

However despite his Corolla's driveshaft problems second place overall puts Smart back into the lead in the championship and means he leaves Coffs Harbour with handy advantage over Justin Dowel and Matt Lee in their Evo IX Lancer heading to the final round in Victoria in November.

Shepheard has battled reliability issues through the opening rounds of the championship but was able to find pace and durability in tough conditions to give him his maiden Bosch ARC victory.

"I figure it was about time that some one else had some bad luck," Steven Shepheard said at the finish on Saturday night in Coffs Harbour.

"I can't put this into words how I feel right now, its just amazing," said Steve.

"My dad won his first ARC title the year I was born in 1971, so its taken 40 years for the Shepheard name to be at the top of an ARC score sheet again," said Steve.

For Smart it was a nervous time over the last four stages nursing the injured Corolla to the finish. With some on-road repairs Smart removed the broken driveshaft and coaxed the Corolla to second with three wheel drive.?

"We're happy that we are now back in the lead of the championship, but also disappointed that we weren't able to maintain first position after being so dominant all weekend," said Ryan.

"We pretty much handed the win to Steve, but it was still great to see a two wheel drive (Eli Evans) a four wheel drive (Shepheard) and our three wheel drive Corolla on the podium," Smart joked at the finish.

Dowel had led the series after a win in the previous round in South Australia but a crash on day one cost the Victorian any points from the first heat and may have cost him the championship coming home in fifth placing for the weekend behind NSW husband and wife team John Mitchell and Jo Cadman in another Evo IX who took fourth.

Charlie Drake and Ben Atkinson were sixth outright and won the Premier League category in yet another Lancer Evo IX, while Bruce Fullarton and Hugh Reardon Smith won Group N in their Evo IX and Mick Gillet and Harvey Smith took the Eco Challenge class in their Hyundai i30 turbo Diesel.

In the Australian Junior Challenge Tom and Nerida Wilde from Nannup in Western Australia recovered from early problems on day one in their Subaru Impreza to take victory in the four wheel drive section winning a funding support for an entry in the final round of the Bosch ARC in November. The two wheel drive section was won by Will Orders an Ryan Calder in a Nissan Silvia, the pair winning a fully funded drive in an Unrestricted rally car at the final round.

The Bosch ARC now heads to the final round, Rally Victoria around Warragul I Gippsland on 11-12 November.


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