The Shannons Insurance Rally SA – Rally of the Heartland has been taken out by Jamie Pohlner and Adam Branford in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.
Behind the reigning SA Rally Champions, who took their first Heartland's win, second place went to David McDonough and Steve Hiser (Evo VI).
Meanwhile the Classic winners were Tom Dermody and Eoin Moynihan (Ford Escort RS1800) over Brad and Jamie Luff (Holden Commodore VL) who swapped their usual driver/navigator roles for this event.
The opening round of the MRF South Australian Rally Championship returned to the mid-north regions of South Australia.
Over three days there was 450 competitive kilometres with two new prologue stages plus long night stages for the Classics. There was no local testing and all crews were forced to use road books as the rally was a blind event.
Pohlner had the strategy to win. He finished fourth on leg one which involved three short prologue stages, behind Stuart Bowes and Mark Nelson (Mercedes 450 SLC) were Declan and Zoe Dwyer (Evo VI), and Glenn Brinkman and Scott Beckwith (Ford Escort RS Cosworth).
First out on leg two, Bowes found the conditions slippery on cold tyres while Pohlner relished the later start with road compacted somewhat and braking points of those ahead quite visible.
He won the leg ahead of Dwyer and Dermody. The leg also knocked out several including Brinkman with a blown head gasket and Ben Searcy/Brad Jones (Evo IX) when they lost brakes after enduring an engine misfire.
Dwyer had a broken gearbox on the final leg, during stage ten, while Pohlner won the leg ahead of McDonough and Bowes. The latter finished overall third in the SARC round ahead of Rob and Jane Hunt (Evo VI), and Darren and Michelle Crozier in their Subaru Impreza WRX.
Third in Classic in the end were Bruce Field and David Parken (Mercedes 280) ahead of Michael Bailey and Ian Whitehead (Nissan Sunny GTi-R) and Kevin Millard and Patrick Hughes (Datsun 1600).