Troy Wilson has left the competition in his dust with an outright win at the Midland Toyota Targa Ellenbrook Sprint in his 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10 with co-driver Frank Guildea.
Racing the clock four times on a 2.3-kilometre street stage on Ellenbrook’s closed roads, Wilson finished 11 seconds faster than his nearest rival Cody Harris and co-driver Morgan Ward in their 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 MR.
Rounding out the top three was two-time Targa West winner (2021 and 2018) Peter Rullo and co-driver Jimmy Marquet in their 2020 SSC Lotus Exige GT, 3.2 seconds behind Harris.
While Wilson is no stranger to the short-format sprint races – he’s a four-time winner of the GT Fabrication Bunbury Sprint – he hasn’t competed for eight months.
“The last thing you want to do is come out after eight months and have it end in tears,” said Wilson.
“In every run, I was a second faster than the last; everything went perfectly to plan, well, almost.
“The throttle was sticking a little bit at quarter-throttle, which was pushing the car around the corners, and we’re hoping to get the car sorted tonight, ready for tomorrow.
“I didn’t know what to expect racing in Ellenbrook because at an event like this, there’s no practise, you’re not allowed to drive on the course at all at speed, you have no idea of grip level, plus there’s big kerbs and buildings that can catch you out quickly.
“You want to drive as fast as you can, but you don’t want to make silly mistakes and crash the car; you need to find that balance. I feel like I found that balance today.
“Best of all, I was able to win and finish with all the wheels on and everything intact,” Wilson said.
Wilson complimented Event Director Ross Tapper and all the volunteers for a great job and a smooth event.
“It’s always awesome racing in front of the crowd, and when the weather is perfect like it was today, it’s unbeatable – I expect tomorrow will be even bigger in the city.”
For second place, Cody Harris, like Wilson, it was his first time competing on the streets of Ellenbrook.
“I thought the layout was brilliant, but it was very hard to be committing, the kerbs are really big, so there’s a lot of risk involved,” said Harris.
“The atmosphere was awesome there were so many spectators – it was a really well-run event from Ross and the team.
“The car came out pretty straight; it’s a relatively new set-up for me; I’m happy with the result.
“Tomorrow, the course suits me, there’s not those long stretches for Troy [Wilson] to open up his car, so we might have a decent chance,” said Harris, who last month won an outright rallysprint.
Harris is set to be formidable competition on the City stage. He won the 2018 and 2019 Targa 4WD up to 3500cc, and in 2020 he won the open class.
Third place Peter Rullo said it was an absolutely great event, even if it’s not his favourite rally format.
“There was a great community atmosphere, and I had so many people coming up to me saying that they loved seeing the car and the racing so close to home that they didn’t need to pay to go to,” said Rullo.
“Personally, I prefer the longer, faster flowing, winding stages like in Kalamunda and Mundaring rather than street courses with 90-degree corners and kerbs either side, but we’re happy to support Targa West.
“It was good to see so many competitors, and I’m happy to finish first in our class and third outright,” said Rullo, who won the Targa Cup 2WD over 2000cc class.
In fourth outright was an EV, a 2019 Tesla Model 3P+ driven by Jurgen Lunsmann with his wife Helen Lunsmann in the navigator’s seat. Winning their class, the duo was just six-tenths of a second from an outright podium finish.
The rally action started with 89 competitors and ended without incident; just three cars didn’t finish due to mechanical reasons.
The warm sunny spring day attracted about 6,000 spectators who lined the Ellenbrook streets to watch the action, see the classic cars at the Show n Shine and enjoy the fun at the mini fair.
Targa West officially kicked off on World EV Day (Friday 9th September) with an electrifying display of 50 EV vehicles alongside Targa West rally cars, street machines and hot rods in Forrest Place.