SUBARU PAIR ROSS & BUER HANG IN THERE TO CLAIM LATEST TARGA NZ WIN
Photo credit: Fast Company/Graham Hughes for ProShotz

Targa – Day 5 report

SUBARU PAIR ROSS & BUER HANG IN THERE TO CLAIM LATEST TARGA NZ WIN

Event-long leaders Cameron Ross and Matthew Buer (Subaru Impreza Sti) have won the latest Targa New Zealand tarmac motor rally which concluded in the Hawke’s Bay on Sunday, 29 May 2022.

The five-day ‘main Targa’ event, which celebrated its 25th anniversay in 2019, has – up until 2020 – been held annually in late October. For the past two years, however, it has fallen foul of the COVID-19 pandemic, being cancelled outright in 2020 then postponed (until this month) in 2021.

For this reason, the event which started in New Plymouth on the North Island’s West Coast last Wednesday (May 25, 2022) and concluded in Havelock North on the Island’s East Coast on Sunday May 29, 2022, has always been referred to – and will go down in the annals of Targa NZ history – as, the 2021 (rather than the 2022) one.

While the big story of the event was definitely the win – by an eventual margin of 1 min.46.9 secs – by Cameron Ross from Wellington, and co-driving mate Matthew Buer from Tauranga in Ross’s locally prepared, late-model Subaru Impreza WRX STI, there were any number of interesting side stories.

Chief amongst these was the pitched late-event battle for the runner-up spot, only resolved in favour of the 4WD VW Polo R of Auckland-based event veteran Jason Gill and co-driver Nicole Summerfield over the event’s top 2WD vehicle, the Porsche 991GT3 RS of 2013 event winner Martin Dippie and his co-driver Jona Grant from Dunedin, on the penultimate stage.

In saying that the drama started from early on the first day (Wednesday May 25) when one of the pre-event favourites, and emphatic winner of the first stage, Leigh Hopper from Whitianga and co-driver Michael Goudie (Auckland), were forced to stop in just the second timed stage to try and sort out a serious engine overheating issue with Hopper’s own earlier model Subaru Impreza WRX.

Ross and Buer – in turn – found themselves under intense pressure from the virtually identical late-model Subaru Impreza WRX STI of young gun Rory Callaway from Christchurch and his Raglan-based co-driver Samantha Gray, the time difference between the two a barely measurable 0.0.5 of a second at the end first day, and just 3.9 seconds at the end of the second.

However, in one of the most dramatic turns in the event’s 26 history, by simply making it through to the end of the first stage of the day on the third day Ross and Buer – literally – found themselves the last of three front-running Subaru 4WD crews standing……… and with a lead they would never lose.

First to the stumble and fall were Rory Callaway and Samantha Gray, their distinctive all-white Subaru Impreza leaving the road just 5km into the 20.78km Mt Egmont stage.

Leigh Hopper and Michael Goudie made it a little further – 13.6km – before they too ended their event with a car-bending trip off the road.

And so, just like that, the complexion of the event changed. By deftly avoiding most of the Day 3 hubris that hit other competitors Ross and Buer not only ended the day with their event lead intact, that lead – now over Dunedin pair Martin Dippie and Jona Grant (Porche 991 GT3 RS – was able to be measured in minutes (3:2.0 to be exact) rather than the fractions of a second (0:00.5) as was the case at the end of the first day.

For their part Dippie and Grant, who had led the 2WD category from the first stage, would spend the rest of the day swapping fastest stage honours with Ross and Buer.

What the Porsche pair were unable to do, however, was shake Jason Gill and his co-driver Nicole Summerfield (4WD VW Polo R) off their tail.

Targa event veteran Gill and Summerfield went into the day in P4, 32.4 seconds shy of Dippie and Grant, but came out of it in P3 just 26 seconds down on the Dippie/Grant Porsche.

Auckland’s David Rogers and co-driver Shane Reynolds (Mitsubishi Evo 10) also moved up in the overall event ranking – from P6 to P4 – their cause aided by the 90 second (minute-and-a-half) time penalty levied on BMW M2 driver Mike Tubbs and co-driver Richard Scoular for exceeding the event’s pre-set maximum average speed through the third last special stage of the day.

Penalty-aside Tubbs and Scoular had enjoyed another competitive day in Tubbs’ 2WD BMW M2 coupe, the pair even claiming their first outright stage win in what turned out to be the ‘bogey’ stage of the event, the 20.78km Mt Egmont one.

Proving the worth of  their late-model hi-tech 2WD vehicles, Tubbs and Scoular also topped the time sheets in the first stage of the day the  next  day, pipping the Gill/Summerfield 4WD VW Polo R by 0.2 of second and the Ross/Buer Subaru Impreza by 11.5  seconds, while Mazda man Marcus Van Klink and his co-driver Matt Richards followed suit with their debut stage win in the second stage of the day, the 11.75km Waiouru, in Van Klink’s new 2WD 26B rotor-engined Mazda RX8.

Despite only winning one of the five other stages, and finishing an uncharacteristic 8th overall in another, at the end of the fourth day not only were Ross and Buer still leading the event overall, but their bonus time buffer – just over 3 minutes – over the second-placed Dippie/Grant Porsche GT3 RS was still very much intact. And it was the Dippie/Grant Porsche which looked the more and more vulnerable, Jason Gill and co-driver Nicole having reduced the time gap between the two podium protagonists from 26.9 secs to 17.9 secs.

And so it was that on the final day of the 2021 Targa New Zealand event Cameron Ross and Matthew Buer completed the job that had started five days and some 2000km before in New Plymouth, claiming a popular victory by the still impressive margin of 1:46.9 over…Jason Gill and Nicole Summerfield in the 4WD VW Polo R and Martin Dippie and Jona Grant in the Porsche GT3 RS.

Say what?

That’s right. After winning the third last stage of the day long-time runner-up spot holders Dippie and Grant still had a 22.6 buffer over Gill and Summerfield in third

By digging deep however, Gill and Summerfield were not only able to win the last two stages of the event, but they were also able to ‘turn the tables’ on Dippie and Grant, making up the Lion’s share – and more – of the 22.6sec. deficit with a winning run through the second-to-last Raukawa stage to take over second place by a margin of 3.2 seconds then pushing it out to 5.9 secs with a third win for the day in the final Tod/Middle Road stage.

Incorporated into and run concurrently over the final two days with the full five-day ‘2021’ Targa New Zealand event was a separately entered and scored – two-day – ‘2021’ Targa NZ Regional tarmac motor rally which started in Whanganui on Saturday May 28.

It was won by Tim McIver and co-driver Brent Wilson in McIvor’s recently imported ‘new-build’ tarmac-spec Mk11 Ford Escort from Pat Dillon and co-driver Bruce Chisholm in a MK 2 Lotus Cortina and the Peugeot 106 Club Sport of Simon and Jane van Tuyl.

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.

The main five-day VCC of NZ Time Trial was won by Russel Yates and Alise Inger in a 1977 MG B from Craig Inger and Oliver Going (1990 Mazda MX5) and Grant Ford and Kyle Lightfoot (1989 Mazda MX5).

The two-day version, meanwhile, was won by Malcolm Fleming and Gina Jones in a 1971 MG Midget with Bill Hopkins and Frank Robinson second in a Mazda MX3 and Michael D’Alton and Ian Stewart third in the mighty 1934 Bentley 3.5 Special.

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.

FINAL RESULTS

‘2021’ TARGA NZ

  1. C.Ross/M.Buer (Subaru Impreza) 5:46:24.4
  2. J.Gill/N.Summerfield (VW Polo) 5:48:11.3
  3. M.Dippie/J.Grant (Porsche 991 GT3 RS) 5:48:17.2
  4. M.Tubbs/R.Scoular(BMW M2) 5:53:43.9
  5. M.Klink/M.Richards (Mazda RX8) 5:55:06.1
  6. R.Darrington/D.Abetz (BMW M3) 6:00:53.9
  7. A.Oakley/S.Hutchins (Audi RS5) 6:01:06.0
  8. N.Apatu/D.Elder (Porsche GT3) 6:01:25.4
  9. A.Tallott/D.Connell (Subaru WRX Sti) 6:01:39.2
  10. D.Rogers/S.Reynolds (Mitsubishi Evo X RS) 6:02:26.7
  11. B.Green/F.Pedersen (Mitsubishi Evo 10) 6:05:58.0
  12. N.Patterson/M.Patterson (BMW E30 335i) 6:07:54.9
  13. G.Wong/M.Flewellen (Subaru Impreza) 6:11:47.3
  14.  J.Thomson/S.Thomson(BMW 135i) 6:13:03.0
  15. B.Farley/G.Warner (BMW 325i) 6:14:10.7
  16. R.Anderson/C.Anderson (Ford Focus) 6:16:21.6
  17. S.Blackley/S.Blackley (Ford Escort) 6:16:34.2
  18. M.McCaughan/L.Lyons (Mercedes 190E) 6:18:39.8
  19. W.Knott/D.Jameson (Subaru Impreza Sti) 6:19:07.8
  20. G.Dickson/P.Dickson (Audi RS4) 6:22:40.5
  21. B.Hiestad/J.Fisher (Ford Capri 2.8) 6:40:05.2
  22. G.Heaysman/R.Deaker (Porsche 964 C4) 6:46:06.9
  23. D.Webster/J.Mulrennan (Renault Alpine Berlinette) 7:14:23.1
  24. D.O’Neill/B.Brookbanks (Honda Integra) 7:16:20.2
  25. S.Bryce/A.Jordan (Audi TT 1.8T Quattro) 6:50:05.9

 Targa NZ Regional 2-Day Rally

  1. T.McIver/B.Wilson (Ford Escort) 2:37:09.5
  2. P.Dillon/B.Chisholm (Ford Lotus Cortina) 2:52:16.1
  3. S.Tuyl/J.Tuyl (Peugeot 106 S16) 3:00:09.0
  4. G.McGregor/J.Chisholm (Holden Torana XU1) 3:02:57.1
  5. A.Greville/I.Greville (BMW Mini) 3:03:41.7
  6. B.Boniface/S.Butler (Toyota Altezza) 3:06:27.9
  7. T.Jilesen/L.Tidman (Nissan Pulsar) 3:12:46.8
  8. S.Richmond/J.Richmond (Ford Fiesta) 3:30:42.1

Targa NZ 5-Day VCC of NZ Time Trial

  1. R.Yates/A.Inger (MG B Roadster)
  2. C.Inger/O.Going (Mazda MX5)
  3. G.Ford/K.Lightfoot (Mazda MX5)

 

Targa NZ 2-day VCC Time Trial  

  1. M.Fleming/G.Jones (MG Midget)
  2. B. Hopkins/F.Robinson (Mazda MX3)
  3. M.D’Alton/I.Stewart (Bentley 3 ½ Litre)

Participation

Spirit Of VCC: Yates family (Brenda,  Russell & Dallas Yates + Alice, Craig & Oscar Inger).

Parent & Offspring: Russell Yates/Alise Inger

Matrimonial: Lyn & Val Scott (Ford Sierra Sapphire)

Sibling: Murray & Kenn Hawkes (1974 Jensen Healey)

Mystery: Owen & Wendy Glover (1974 Triumph Stag)

Vigorous Veterans: Michael D’Alton & Ian Stewart (1934 Bentley 3½ Litre Special)

Young Guns: Craig Inger & Oliver Going (1990 Mazda MX5)

Best Team Theme: Mark Errington/Peter Cameron (1974 MG B GT)

Hard Luck: Gary & Alan Smith (1987 Ford Sierra Cosworth)

Targa NZ Trophies

 Greg Ryan Memorial Trophy

  1. N.Patterson/M.Patterson (BMW E30/335i) 6:07:54.9
  2. J.Thomson/S.Thomson (BMW 135i) 6:13:03.0
  3. S.Blackley/S.Blackley (Ford Escort) 6:16:34.2

Matrimonial Trophy

  1. R.Anderson/C.Anderson (Ford Focus) 6:16:21.6
  2. W.Knott/D.Jameson (Subaru Impreza Sti) 6:19:07.8
  3. G.Dickson/P.Dickson (Audi RS4) 6:22:40.5

Peter Hanna Memorial Trophy

  1. A.Oakley/S.Hutchins (Audi RS5) 6:01:06.0
  2. G.Dickson/P.Dickson (Audi RS4) 6:22:40.5
  3. A.Rickerby/T.Callaghan (Holden Torana SLR5000)
Photo credit: Fast Company/Graham Hughes for ProShotz

 

 

media release by Fast Company

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