Classic Ford versus Holden battle on Day 3 of Quit Targa West
Day 3 of Quit Targa West took competitors to the rolling green hills of Toodyay, Maryville Downs and Bullsbrook for Leg 2 where they raced along 14 stages, 118 competitive kilometres and drove a total distance of 442 kilometres.
Quit Targa West is a premier tarmac rally that started on Thursday 10th August in Forrest Place, Perth and finishes in the City of Perth on Riverside Drive tomorrow, Sunday 13th August.
Leg 2 began with SS15, Racecourse 1 in Toodyay with torrential rain making the roads greasy. The rain stopped and the roads began to dry during the rest of the morning stages, however drivers still had to exercise caution with wet patches creating slippery conditions.
The afternoon stages in Marysville Downs saw some heavy showers come in with water running across the road, causing havoc for some competitors.
The fast flowing stages seemed to suit high horsepower vehicles and the wet conditions were favourable for the all-wheel-drive competitors.
Competitors are divided into Competition and Challenge categories with classes for Modern and Classic cars in each. The Challenge category is for showroom style or non-roll caged vehicles. Vehicles manufactured earlier than 1985 are classed as Classic and the Modern class for vehicles manufacture from 1986 onwards. There’s also an award for the Quit Targa West Rallye Rookie (first timer).
Current leader of the Competition Modern and winner of the last two Targa West events Peter Major and co-driver Ben Searcy took a conservative approach today, starting Leg 2 with a comfortable lead of 1:04 minutes and driving without ABS in their 2004 Porsche 996.
“It’s been an interesting day – without ABS because it makes it that much harder to stop in the rain,” Major said.
“I didn’t turn right at one turn and ended up going through some bunting. We’ve had a few little niggles like that today so I’ve had to be a little cautious.”
Major said that the ABS couldn’t be fixed, so he’s hoping it doesn’t rain during tomorrow’s stages.
“I’m comfortable going into tomorrow with a 29-second lead and will be driving as fast as I can and we’ll see where we end up. I’m going into tomorrow like I always do and not putting pressure on myself, going out there to have fun and see what happens. It’s not over yet!”
Major / Searcy won 6 stages today and came equal first in SS21 with nearest rival Peter Rullo and James Marquet.
Finishing the leg in second place, Rullo / Marquet in their 2012 Nissan GTR pushed hard today, trying to make up for lost time after their incident on yesterday’s opening stage where they ‘kissed a tree’, bending a rear steering arm and smashing the passenger window, rear panel and almost ripping the rear bumper bar off.
Rullo / Marquet won seven stages today, came equal first in SS21 with Major, finished second to Major in five stages and came third in the very wet opening stage of the day.
“After the crew fixed the bent arm yesterday at the Kalamunda service, the car has been great, no problems whatsoever,” Rullo said.
“I like those long fast stages, they suit my car, and they also suit Peter’s [Major] too.
“We had a few big moments when we hit water that was flowing over the road. There’s not much you can do when that happens, you just become a passenger and just hope the grip to returns quickly – that happened about two or three times this afternoon.
“Still, we’ve managed to make up time and get back about half of the deficit. It’s disappointing we lost so much time yesterday, but it’s not over yet and anything can happen, and in motorsport it usually does,” Rullo said.
The gaffer tape that was holding his rear bumper bar on yesterday has been replaced with neat cable ties.
Will White and Matt Thompson in their 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 finished Leg 2 in third place, finishing two stages second fastest (once equal second with Slater / Harbron), nine stages third fastest and three stages fourth fastest.
White / Thompson trail Rullo / Marquet by 1:03 minutes and current leaders Major / Searcy by 1:32 minutes.
Robert Slater and Richard Harbron in a 1999 Porsche GT3 had a solid start to the day, finishing SS18 in equal second to White / Thompson and consistently in the top 10 until SS24 where they lost 10:47 minutes.
“We lost our windscreen wipers and couldn’t see anything in the heavy rain and ended up hitting the pavement damaging a radiator. It’s all repaired now, but it slowed us up and we missed Stage 25. We are out of contention now, but will restart tomorrow and finish the event,” Slater said.
|Overall after Leg 2|
Lancer Evo 9
The rivalry between Ford and Holden continues with a tight battle in the Competition Classic category.
Simon Gunson and Murray Armenti in their 1971 Ford Capri Perana started Leg 2 with a 4-second lead over rivals Mick Bray and Daniel Bray in their 1975 Holden Torana.
It was cat and mouse all day with Gunson / Armenti winning seven stages and finishing two stages in equal first with Bray / Bray.
The Bray brothers won four stages, finished two stages in equal first place and finished second fastest in all other stages, including SS24 where they lost 19 seconds.
“The weather rolled in and with the water running across the road, we were just sliding, aquaplaning, so had to back off a bit,” Bray explained.
“It was a challenging start to the day with a little bit of fog, rain and then the roads drying but still wet in patches.
“We’re pushing as hard as we can and I’m really enjoying the battle with Simon (Gunson), he’s a serious racer so I’m happy we’re able to keep up with him,” Bray said.
Gunson said that the Classic category was down to the wire.
“We’re pushing hard, put it this way, there isn’t much left in the car!” Gunson said, last year’s Targa West winner.
“With the weather conditions, it’s changing all the time – he’s faster, I’m faster – keeps things interesting. We’ll have to see what happens tomorrow.”
Bray / Bray sit in second place overall, trailing Gunson / Armenti by 12 seconds.
|Overall after Leg 2|
Challenge Modern / Classic
Dubbed the ‘Challenge Queen’ by her husband Simon Gunson, Sharon Gunson and co-driver Helen Lunsmann of GTi Girls Racing in a 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7 have healthy lead of 1:46 minutes over second place rookies Nick Bailey and Kyle O’Neil in a 2010 Volkswagen Golf GTI.
“We had a really awesome day. The car is going perfect, it’s fantastic, no dramas whatsoever,” Sharon Gunson said.
“The Motor Trade Association, our major sponsor, supply a senior mechanic and three apprentices who work with GTi Racing’s senior mechanic and together they do a fantastic job preparing the car.
“With the all-wheel-drive, we stick to the tarmac so the wet weather didn’t really affect us,” said Gunson, a three-time winner of Targa West in the Challenge category.
The driver of the event’s only all-female team said the rally was theirs to lose.
“Normally I smash it at Malaga, it’s one of my favourite stages, but this year because of our lead, there’s no need to push so I’ll probably take it a bit easier tomorrow.”
|Overall after Leg 2|
Lancer Evo 7
Leg 3 tomorrow is the final day of Quit Targa West with three stages in Malaga and three stages in the City of Perth along Riverside Drive. The six stages total 35.76 competitive kilometres make up a total distance of 88.87 kilometres.
The Malaga City of Swan Stage that starts at 8.45am tomorrow will be run three times and include a demonstration from the amazing Australian Drift Grand Prix cars, guaranteed to be crowd pleasers.
The Targa City Sprint will rev the City’s motorsport extravaganza into gear with over 300 classic and modern cars on display at the Terrace Road car park, adjacent to Langley Park, and another 60 cars competing flat out along Riverside Drive from 9.30am. Quit Targa West rally cars will start at 1.00pm.
The Podium Finish will be at 3.30pm where the top three winners in each category will be presented with trophies, followed by the traditional champagne spray.
About Quit Targa West
The 13th Quit Targa West has attracted 64 rally teams in a mix of performance, classic and exotic vehicles.
Competitors will race the clock on 34 stages over 242 kilometres in Malaga, Wanneroo, Whiteman Park, Kalamunda, Toodyay, Chittering and Bullsbrook before the finale on Sunday 13th August at the City of Perth Super Stage and Shannons Classics car display adjacent to Langley Park on the Terrace Road car park from 12pm.
Spectating is free and all 34 stages feature a number of locations where the public can witness prime motorsport action.
Full details of spectator points can be found in the Spectator Guide – download it here.
Photos courtesy of CMR Photographic and Tim Allott