Day 2 – Rullo and Gunson inching forward – Make Smoking History Targa West

Cool temperatures and dry weather made for near perfect rally conditions for Day 2 of the 17th Make Smoking History with eight timed stages and a total of 76.56 competitive kilometres.

Starting in Mundaring with two stages at Parkerville, competitors then tackled two more stages in Kalamunda before a service and a lunch stop on Haynes Street. Then it was two stages of the famous Zig Zag and another stage in Kalamunda before ending the day with a service at the Hawaiian Shopping Centre Forrestfield. The rally cars made their way to Northbridge and parked along James and Lake Streets for the Show and Shine display from 6pm to 9pm.

Held from 16th to 19th September, Make Smoking History Targa West is Perth’s premier tarmac rally and the only event in Perth that uses closed public roads for racing.

Competition Modern

Finishing fastest or equal fastest on all but the last stage where he was just pipped was Peter Rullo and co-driver Jimmy Marquet in their 2020 SSC Lotus Exige GT. Rullo started the day with a 12 second lead and finished it 35 seconds ahead of Steve Jones and co-driver Caleb Ash in their 2008 Nissan R35 GTR.

“Inching forward is the aim, and we’ve had a good day and been able to do that, but it’s still early days, so bit by bit,” said Rullo.

Rullo reported that his brakes were getting a little hot during the Kalamunda stages.

Steve Jones also reported heating brakes.

“We thought we might have to change the tyres during the lunch service because we were sliding a bit, but it was the brakes putting out a lot of heat, they have to work hard on these hills to pull up two tonnes, it’s a big heavy car,” said Jones.

“The exhaust fell off early in the day and we lost some time there, and because of the sliding, I couldn’t push it in the morning, but we’ve changed a few things and adjusted the set up and the car is stronger now, we have more grip and we’re now realising what the car is capable of.”

After the lunch service, Jones finished three stages either one or two seconds behind Rullo and he won the final stage of the day by one second.

Rullo might have a 35 second lead, but you can bet that Jones is chasing and according to Jones, tomorrow’s long and fast stages suit his car, so we can expect some exciting action tomorrow.

Rounding out the top three of the day was David Heaton in his new 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS with one of Australia’s most experienced co-drivers, Steve Glenney, calling the notes. This is Heaton’s 12th time competing in Targa West.

“We’ve had a good day, we’re pretty happy with conditions, they suited us, and we’re getting into a rhythm,” said Heaton.

“We aimed to be in third place by the end of the day and here we are. We’re keeping Jonesy a bit honest, and we’re going stage by stage and trying to beat Jones.

“Things can change very quickly in a rally, and we’ll be keeping the pressure on,” Heaton said.

Demonstrating that consistency pays is fourth overall Brett Morse and Rodney Ng in their 2019 BMW M2 Competition whose regular times in the top seven see them sitting in fourth place overall.

Finishing both Zig Zag stages equal fastest with Rullo was the self-proclaimed ‘King of the Zig Zag’ Mark Cates and co-driver Anthony Carr in their 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

The day didn’t start off well for the Cates who had an off on the first stage at Parkerville and lost about 15 seconds. Cates / Carr finished the day in fifth place overall.

“My co-driver is from Tasmania, so when the sun came out, he said he wanted some shade, so I parked the car under a tree for a bit,” said Cates, making light of his off.

“In all seriousness, that was a proper ‘moment’, but we got going again and we’ve had a cracker of a day and fifth place is where we deserve to be.”

Also finishing Zig Zag 2 equal fastest with Rullo and Cates was husband and wife duo Bill and Glenys Stagoll in their 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, who ended the day in sixth place overall.

Last year’s runner up Will White and co-driver Matt Thompson are finding their rhythm and the limits of White’s new 2018 Nissan GTR Nismo.

“I’m loving it and I feel like I’m starting to get a handle on the car and I’m able to push a bit harder,” said White of Dardanup.

Steve Jones / Caleb Ash. Photo: Graeme Howie
David Heaton / Steve Glenney. Photo: image1265
Brett Morse / Rodney Ng. Photo: image1265

Competition Classic

Simon Gunson with co-driver and 17-time competitor Nigel Jones won seven of the day’s eight stages in their 1971 Ford Capri Perana.

Beginning the day in Parkerville with an 11-second lead over cousins Nathan Ellement and Kevin Ellement, Gunson / Jones finished with a comfortable 1:19 minutes ahead.

The Ellements weren’t off the pace, in fact, they were posting consistent top three times in their 1985 Chevrolet Corvette C4, but they did incur a couple of penalties for speeding in restricted zones. The final stage was theirs, finishing fastest by 15 seconds, a somewhat bittersweet end to the day.

Rounding out the top three was Tim Wolfe and Scott Beckwith in their 1974 Porsche 911 who are 2:08 minutes behind Gunson / Jones.

Simon Gunson / Nigel Jones. Photo: image1265
Nathan Ellement and Kevin Ellement. Photo: image1265

Targa 165 and Targa 130

The rally’s only EV car, the Telsa 3 Performance+ car driven by Jurgen and Helen Lunssman again took a clean sweep of stage wins in the Targa 165 category to finish the day a whopping 4:01 minutes ahead of their nearest rival.

The Targa 165 category restricts drivers to 165 kilometres per hour.

Stepping up from the Targa 130 category last year which limits drivers to 130 kilometres per hour, the Lunsmanns are a good advertisement for the future of motorsport with consistent fast times that would have them listed in the top ten outright if they’d entered the Competition Modern category.

“Even though we’re restricted to 165 kilometres per hour, the car is going really well and we’re loving the high speed, and it’s even greener this year,” said Jurgen Lunsmann.

His Telsa is being fast-charged by a used Tesla battery that came from a wreck, which is being slow-charged by a generator that is powered by used chip oil.

In second place is class winner of the rally’s smaller, south west sister event Make Smoking History Targa South West, Mathew St Guillaume and co-driver James Brittain in their 2006 Porsche Cayman.

“It’s absolutely amazing, it’s been epic and the weather held off so we’ve been able to push the car as hard as we can and it’s just such an amazing experience to drive these cars at speed,” said St Guillaume.

“The camaraderie is great and with a big team like KTEC, they make it fun, and with a co-driver too, it’s a team sport – the drivers take all the credit, but it really is a team sport.”

Retiring yesterday after an off, Mayor of the City of Swan Kevin Bailey and co-driver Eric Purvis were all smiles in the service park having rejoined the rally thanks to a lot of hard work overnight by the team to get his 1993 Nissan Silvia S13 back on the road.

“We had so many people help us get parts from all over Perth yesterday and last night – oil cooler, tyre rod, headlights, new comms. The car’s going great now, it’s outstanding, it’s my pride that got a hammering,” Bailey said.

Rookie and Targa 130 competitor Aaron Williams and co-driver Rachel Ferrante won six of the day’s eight stages in their 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7 to end the day on top of the leaderboard 17 seconds ahead of Chris Beerens and Alex Butler in their 2011 Subaru WRX STI.

Tomorrow – Day 3, Leg 3

Tomorrow is make or break day, Targa West’s marathon day designed to challenge drivers and cars.

Competition takes place around Toodyay, Chittering and Bullsbrook with 14 stages, a total of 128.85 competitive kilometres which includes the two longest stages of the rally, Maryville Downs at 19.67 kilometres, which is run twice. Competitors will cover 475.64 kilometres in massive 12-hour day.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is expected to be mostly dry with cool temperatures that’ll be perfect for some red-hot rally action.

It’s completely free to watch Western Australia’s premier tarmac rally, and there are plenty of spectator points to catch the fast-paced action.

Make Smoking History Targa West competitors start at 30-second intervals, with the winner being the fastest over all 37 stages, a total of 272 competitive kilometres, across four days.

For more information and results visit

Download the Make Smoke History Targa West Spectator Guide here, includes more detailed information including times and maps.

Jurgen and Helen Lunsmann. Photo: CMR Photographic
Peter Rullo. Photo: Tim Allott
Kalamunda Service Park on Haynes Street. Photo: Tim Allott
Will White / Matt Thompson. Photo: Graeme Howie