|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.
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.