Two for Rullo and Gunson takes a hat trick – Make Smoking History Targa West

For all the class leaders, the finale today was about preserving their lead and not taking any unnecessary risks.

Day 4, Leg 4 was held in Perth with six city stages, a total of 35.55 competitive kilometres, all of them with kerbs, gutters and tight turns.

Bright blue skies and 22 degrees saw thousands line the streets of Malaga in the morning for the first three stages of the day, and thousands more in the City of Perth for the final three sprint-style stages along Riverside Drive.

Langley Park was transformed into a rev head’s dream with over 500 cars, bikes and motorbikes at the Celebration of Motorsport, and along Riverside Drive, the Shannons Classics on the Swan saw a huge collection of stunning classic cars from yesteryear.

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.

The event is owned by Targa West Events and is only possible thanks to a dedicated committee and an army of 500 volunteers.

Event Director Ross Tapper said that wants to thank each and every official, all competitors, sponsors, crew and spectators.

“To run a smooth and safe rally that’s enjoyable for all is what we aim to do, and this year has been outstanding,” Tapper said.

Competition Modern Podium. Photo: Elevation Digital
Rullo / Marquet. Photo: Dianne Bortoletto

Competition Modern

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
Pos No Crew Vehicle Total
Gap 1st 
1 62 RULLO
SSC Lotus
Exige Targa GT
2 23 JONES
911 GT2 RS
4 69 CATES
911 GT3 RS
5 87 MORSE
M2 Competition
Steve Jones does a shoey (Peter Rullo’s shoe) Photo: Elevation Digital
Mark Cates / Anthony Carr. Photo: Elevation Digital

Competition Classic

Hat trick! Competition Classic winning driver Simon Gunson has scored a hat trick with three firsts in a row, and his co-driver Nigel Jones is the only competitor to have contested all 17 Targa West rallies.

Gunson has previously won the Classic Drivers title in 2014, 2016, 2019 and 2020.

With a healthy lead going into the finale today, Gunson / Jones just had to preserve their lead in their 1971 Ford Capri Perana. They did just that in Malaga but they couldn’t help themselves and tore through the last three city stages. They came out victors finishing 2:37 minutes ahead of Tim Wolfe and Scott Beckwith in their 1974 Porsche 911.

“We thought, well we had some rubber left on the tyres we might as well put on a bit of a show, that’s what people come out to see,” said Gunson.

“We’re really happy, it was a great rally and we’ve had tremendous support, thanks to everyone – especially our service crew who are a great bunch of mates.”

Gunson’s service crew consists of a group of friends he’s known for 20 years, and every Wednesday night they get together to work on the car.

The battle for second and third outright was on with Tim Wolfe and Scott Beckwith just 3 seconds ahead of Nathan and Kevin Ellement at the start of the day.

Both were giving it their all and fanging it around Malaga this morning trying to make up vital seconds.

Wolfe / Beckwith won all three Malaga stages and Ellement / Ellement won all three City of Perth stages, but it wasn’t enough to change the leader board.

Wolfe / Beckwith finished on the second step of the podium just 2 seconds ahead of the Ellements in their 1985 Chevrolet Corvette C4.

“It’s been amazing, created to my co-driver Scott who coaches me too, he did an amazing job, as did the KTEC team that keep this 47-year-old girl going,” said Wolfe, referring to his 1974 Porsche 911.

Overall Competition Classic
Pos No Crew Vehicle Total
Gap 1st 
Capri Perana
2 37 WOLFE
911 RS
Corvette C4
Simon Gunson / Nigel Jones. Photo: Tim Allott
Simon Gunson. Photo: Dianne Bortoletto
Nathan Ellement and Kevin Ellement. Photo: image1265

Targa 165 and Targa 130

An impressive number of stage wins for Jurgen and Helen Lunsmann in their Tesla 3 Performance+ saw them take the lead early in Make Smoking History Targa West 165 class and they never looked back.

Of 37 stages, they won 36, only backing off in the middle of yesterday’s marathon day to preserve charge in their EV, earning them the top step of the podium.

“I’m equal parts stoked and relieved. I’m happy with our decision to step up to the 165 class and I’m itching to up the charge and enter the outright class and have a crack,” Jurgen Lunsmann said.

Finishing second outright were Targa West rookies Mathew St Guillaume and co-driver James Brittain in their 2006 Porsche Cayman.

The duo won their class at the shorter Targa South West rally held in May, and are a good example of how to start a rally career and move up the ranks to bigger events.

“Firstly massive thank you to all the volunteers and officials that make this event possible,” said St Guillaume.

“Wow what an amazing four days. We started slowly as we hadn’t had any seat time since Targa South West and kept building until we found our speed by Saturday. We loved the friendly competition with our fellow 165 racers and a big shout out to the KTEC team.”

Finishing the day in third place are rookies Paul Oxley and Yvonne Mulligan in their 2000 Subaru Impreza WRX.

“We’ve had a ball and we’ve learnt a lot,” said Mulligan, who is Oxley’s co-driver and partner.

“We’re still talking to each other, so that’s a good sign! He calms me when I’m stressed and I do that same for him, so we seem to balance each other out well in the car, it’s been great.”

The Targa 165 category restricts drivers to 165 kilometres per hour, while the Targa 130 category last year limits drivers to 130 kilometres per hour.

It might be the entry category for Making Smoking History Targa West, but it’s where some of the closest battles were fought.

They started this morning in third place, but rookies Aaron Williams and co-driver Rachel Ferrante in their 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7 battled hard and won four of today’s six stages and came out on top, to finish faster than Chris Beerens and Alex Butler in their 2011 Subaru WRX STI by 11 seconds.

Aaron Williams & Rachael Ferrante. Photo: Tim Allott

In third place overall 2:03 minutes behind the leader way Davyd Hooper and Jacob Teo in their 2016 AMG CLA45.

For more information and results visit

Make Smoking History Targa West is Perth’s premier tarmac rally and the only event in Perth that uses closed public roads for racing.

Jurgen and Helen Lunsmann. Photo: Tim Allott
Tim Wolfe / Scott Beckwith. Photo: Graeme Howie