The recent Scouts Rally of South Australia saw the Sachs Rally Team's Evolution X Lancer achieve its first ever podium finish in the Australian Rally Championship (ARC).

After competing at the elite ARC and State level for the past 10 years, the event was a breakthrough for driver Steven Shepheard, following in the footsteps of his illustrious father, George Shepheard.

Steven started of his rallying career in a Holden Gemini in the Queensland Rally championship, but the rally bug had bitten early after sitting alongside Peter Brock while testing for the 1995 round Australia Rally.

15 years on from that experience, Shepheard now finds himself sitting in fourth place in the Championship only 15 points off third, and filled with confidence heading into his home rally, the International Rally of Queensland from July 30 to August 1.

The rally wasn't without drama for the crew, with a last minute change of co-drivers throwing a curve ball at preparations.

For the past two years, Shepheard has had friend John McCarthy calling him the pace notes, but with the oncoming birth of John's first child during rally week, it was decided that John would sit out the event.

Long time family friend Stephen O'Brien-Pounde stood in, who had previous sat alongside George Shepheard in years past.

At the beginning of the season, the team had predicted that they would be on the podium by Rally SA, with the dream becoming a reality.

"The Scouts Rally of South Australia was a great event for us," Steven said.

"We went into the event knowing we were going to have it a little hard as both Stephen and myself, as we had not even sat in the car together until the Friday night on the way to the super special stage.

"Despite this, we left there at the end of the night sitting third outright, so I knew then we were in for an exciting event.

"I must admit I hate the first forest stage at this event, Tweeden, it is super fast fifth gear through tree lined roads, and it did not help that we had to do our second pass on this stage in the dark, so I really had to trust the pace notes."

This stage saw the massive accident involving Brendan Reeves last year, with Shepheard not prepared to rake any risks.

Prior to the first competitive stage, Shepheard set the fourth quickest time in Friday's Pedders Top Ten Shootout.

After fighting with young gun Eli Evans throughout Saturday, the Sachs Lancer EVO was placed fifth for the heat.

Sunday morning action started on a low point, with the heavy accident involving Scott Pedder turning competitors away from the start of the first stage.

The heat proved to be another battle between Evans and Michael Bowden, with Shepheard finishing only 14 seconds down on Evans, to finish fourth.

The result was still good enough for the team to be on the outright podium in third for the weekend.

Steven Shepheard and the whole team would like to thank Sachs, GSA Wholesale Suspension, Albins Off Road Gear, Mitsubishi Ralliart, and Haulmark Trailers for their assistance throughout the 2010 Australian Rally Championship.

For more information on SACHS Rally Team is available on their website at www.gsarallyteam.com

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