‘NOTHING IN IT’ AS SUBARU SQUADS DOMINATE FIRST DAY OF LATEST TARGA NZ EVENT IN TARANAKI
Auckland pair Cameron Ross and co-driver Matthew Buer held the narrowest of event leads – just 0:00.5 of a second – over Christchurch-based Subaru 4WD counterparts Rory Calloway and his co-driver Samantha West, after an entertaining first day of competition in the latest five-day Targa New Zealand tarmac motor rally which started – and finished back in – New Plymouth yesterday.
Though – of the two combinations – only Ross and Buer won one of the four closed road special stages the 37-strong competition field tackled yesterday, they found themselves vying for the overall lead of the event with Calloway and West in their near-identical, late-model hatchback versions, when event veteran and usual Subaru flagbearer Leigh Hopper from Whitianga and Auckland-based co-driver Michael Goudie were slowed then forced to stop completely to try and sort out a serious engine overheating issue with Hopper’s older WRX-badged four-door sedan model, on only the third stage.
The good news for Hopper and Goudie is that they were able to fix the problem, get the car back on the road, and even go on to win the final two stages of the day to make it three wins out of four.
The bad (news) however is that by failing to finish the third stage (under their own steam, as it were!) Hopper and Goudie had to accept a maximum assessed stage time in order to continue on in the event.
That time was 28 minutes, 8 more than it took Camereon and Buer to take the win in their absence.
By comfortably winning the last two stages of the day Hopper and Goudie were able to claim back valuable seconds on both Ross and Buer and Calloway and West, but were still languishing back in 19th place in the overall event classification, 6 minutes, and 20 seconds down on the leaders, when it was published last night.
Comfortable in 3rd place meanwhile, in the first of the 2WDs, the exotic late model Porsche 991GT3RS of 2013 Targa NZ event winner Martin Dippie and co-driver Jona Grant from Dunedin, a minute behind the two 4WD Subarus in front, but with a 23.6 second buffer on the best of the other 2WD runners.
Which was the BMW M2 of fellow Targa event regulars Mike Tubbs and co-driver Richard Scoular in 4th place.
In 5th however, was the potent late model 4WD Audi RS5 of Christchurch pair Andy Oakley and Steve Hutchings, just 10.8 seconds back, but a half a minute up on the purpose-built VW Polo R of Aucklander Jason Gill and his Christchurch-based co-driver Nicolle Summerfield which ended up in 6th place.
In 7th was the 4WD Mitsubishi Evo 10 of Auckland ace Dave Rogers and co-driver Shane Reynolds, while in 8th place was the exotic 4-rotor, 26B Mazda RX8 purpose built for tarmac events like the 2021 Targa New Zealand event for Christchurch gravel rally specialist Marcus Van Klink and his co-driver Matt Richards.
First up on the second full day of competition today is a run through the infamous Inglewood Jumps stage before a trip east to spend the best part of the day racing to then back out from Whangamomona before returning to New Plymouth tonight.
Tomorrow (FridayMAy27) the field heads south for a single night’s stopover in Whanganui then east to Hawke’s Bay where the event will be based for the final two nights – via Saturday stages using Fields Track in the morning and the Gentle Annie Rd in the afternoon.
All-up, entrants face a mix of 760km of closed road special stages and 1240km of touring stages for an event total of 2000 km.
Incorporated into and set to run concurrently over the final two days with the full five-day ‘2021’ Targa New Zealand event is a separately entered and scored – two-day – ‘2021’Targa NZ Regional tarmac motor rally.
Both the five-day and the two-day regional events will also incorporate their own concurrently run but independently organised and scored VCC Time Trials run in conjunction with the Vintage Car Club of NZ, as well as concurrent but non-competitive Targa Tours.
Targa New Zealand events are organised by the Ultimate Rally Group with the support of sponsors AndrewSimms.co.nz, Chicane Racewear, Global Security, NZ Classic Car magazine, Race Brakes, Race4Life Trust, Racetech, TrackIt, Vital and Writeraze.
For more information go to www.targa.co.nz or check out the Targa NZ page on Facebook.