Taking the title for the second time was Peter Rullo with co-driver and long-time friend Jimmy Marquet in their 2020 SSC Lotus Exige GT.
The duo took a strategic approach to win the Make Smoking History Targa West, increasing their lead incrementally day by day to repeat the success of 2018 which is when Rullo / Marquee won their first title, after 10 attempts. This year is the 13th Targa West for both of them and after a disappointing DNF last year, victory never tasted so sweet.
Rullo / Marquet finished fastest or equal fastest in 21 of the 37 stages and finished second fastest in 13 stages to take the overall win 1:39 minutes ahead of Steve Jones and co-driver Caleb Ash in their 2008 Nissan R35 GTR. It was a flawless Targa West for the duo.
“This is what we love to do and there’s not too many places in Australia where you can enjoy this type of event, so thanks to everyone who worked to make it happen,” said Rullo of Gooseberry Hill.
“We had an awesome lead up and Jimmy was faultless – you do need to listen to the co-driver! The whole event went exactly to plan.”
Co-driver Jimmy Marquet said that Rullo drove a clinically perfect rally.
“Peter hit every apex, every breaking point, he was faultless all event. We had a different lead up and the plan was to chip away stage by stage, which worked,” Marquet said.
Steve Jones, a four-time Targa West winner, hasn’t competed in the rally for five years, and after winning smaller sister rally, Make Smoking History Targa South West held in Manjimup in May, it seems rallying is once again in his blood.
Jones / Ash finished fastest or equal fasted on 9 stages and second on 11 stages, proving that a hiatus hasn’t diminished his driving sharps.
Jones reported sliding issued with his GTR up until yesterday afternoon when the two back tyres were changed, which showed in the results as he took five wins from the last eight stages. Today’s tight city stages stages were more of challenge.
“We’re very pleased with how we went considering it was a tough weekend with the car – tough on us, on the crew, on the car, but we’re happy,” said 37-year-old Jones.
Taking third overall and newbie to the podium is David Heaton with co-driver and driving trainer Steve Glenney. The package of a new car, Heaton’s 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS and Glenney’s training reaped results. The duo finished 2:13 minutes behind the leader in Heaton’s best result in 12 Targa West rallies.
Yesterday, Heaton took his first stage win and today he took three more, all the Malaga stages. It seems the taste of victory has truly taken hold.
“Targa West is the one we wanted to crack, we’re pretty stoked,” said Heaton.
“I’m super stoked, I learned a lot with Steve in the car, and we knew we were on it at Malaga, and thought we’d have a crack, we wanted to take one off Rullo, so it was nice to have a few wins over Rullo.”
Jumping up a place on the overall leader board yesterday to finish in fourth outright today is Mark Cates in his 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS with Tasmanian co-driver Anthony Carr.
This is Cates’ fourth Targa West, last year was a DNF and his best result was fifth in 2019. He’s clocking up some racing kilometres competing in as many Targa events as he can in WA and the eastern states to be a serious future title contender.
Cates / Carr finished fastest and equal fastest on both Zig Zag stages in Kalamunda on Day 2, and had a few ‘moments’ that they recovered from to finish strong.
“It was a good outcome, we got what we deserved and landed exactly where we wanted to be, the other three are another class above us, but we put everything we had into it and we’re thoroughly pleased,” said Bunbury resident Cates.
“A new co-driver is always tricky, but Anthony and I gelled well and he did a great job.
“Rullo, Jones and Heaton outclassed us, and it was particularly great to see Dave Heaton on a podium, it brought a tear to my eye,” said Cates.
Rounding out the top five outright was Brett Morse and Rodney Ng in their 2019 BMW M2 Competition, finishing 4:49 minutes behind the rally leader.
In Make Smoking History Targa West 17-year history, only six champions have taken the title in the Competition Modern category; Peter Rullo (2021, 2018), Mark Greenham (2020), Peter Major (6-time champion 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019), Steve Jones (2008, 2009, 2011, 2014), Jim Richards (2007, 2012) and Ross Dunkerton (2005, 2006).
|Overall Competition Modern
Exige Targa GT
911 GT2 RS
911 GT3 RS