ATTACKS COME FROM ALL SIDES BUT ROSS/BUER SUBARU REMAINS IN FRONT AS TARGA NZ EVENT NEARS HOME STRETCH
The attacks on the Subaru Impreza of event-long leaders Cameron Ross and Matthew Buer kept coming thick and fast on the penultimate day of competition as the long-postponed ‘2021’ Targa New Zealand tarmac motor rally neared the home stretch yesterday.
Yet, despite only adding one more stage win to their total, not to mention finishing an uncharacteristic 8th overall in the second special stage of the day near Waiouru earlier in the morning, when the times were finally tallied at the event’s new (and final) base in Havelock North last night, not only were Ross and Buer still leading the event overall, but that the bonus time buffer – just over 3 minutes – over the second-placed Porsche GT3 RS of former event winner Martin Dippie and co-driver Jona Grant, the Subaru pair started the day with, was still very much intact, at 2:39.8, a loss of just 32 seconds.
In fact, it was the Dippie/Grant Porsche which looked the more and more vulnerable as event veteran Jason Gill and co-driver Nicole Summerfield (VW Polo R) applied the blowtorch from behind, reducing the time gap between the two podium protagonists from 26.9 secs to 17.9 secs.
Gill and Summerfield made up most of that time by winning the last two stages of the day, the 28.48km Gentle Annie 2 and 29.69km Gentle Annie 3.
Like the first of these stunning ‘high plains’ stages, the 25.83 km Gentle Annie 1– won by Dippie & Grant from Gill & Summerfield, and Ross & Buer – the other two were also expected to favour 2WD cars.
That had certainly been the case earlier in the day when Mike Tubbs and co-driver Richard Scoular claimed their second stage win in two days (through the 26.86km Fields Track stage) in Tubbs’ late model 2WD BMW M2 coupe, while Mazda man Marcus Van Klink and his co-driver Matt Richards were quickest the 11.75km Waiouru stage in Van Klink’s new 2WD 26B rotor-engined Mazda RX8.
After overnighting in Havelock North last night, the combined Targa group headed out into the Hawke’s Bay hinterland today for a final five stages.
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 which started in Whanganui yesterday morning (Sat My 28).
Both the five-day and the two-day regional events incorporated 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.nzor check out the Targa NZ page on Facebook.
Media release by Fast Company