THOUSANDS of motorsport fans lined Riverside Drive to cheer on Quit Targa West competitors as they crossed the finish line on the final stage of the four-day tarmac rally.
Day three was a rollercoaster of a day for the Quit Targa West tarmac rally field, with the Toodyay and Chittering stages serving up plenty of highs and lows.
Driving a combined 118km, Car 54 – a Mitsubishi Evo driven by Kerry Wade and Mike Kennedy – rolled early on.
Both were transported to hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Many of the higher horsepower vehicles excelled on the Toodyay and Bullsbrook stages.
It was exactly the type of environment for which Peter Major’s Porsche 996 Turbo was built, and he and co-driver Greg Flood finally took the lead off Dean Herridge and William Hayes (Subaru WRX STI).
Will White and Matt Thompson (Mitsubishi Evo 9) worked their way up the leaderboard to second place, 49 seconds behind Major and Flood.
The stars of leg two were Peter Rullo and Jimmy Marquet, setting the fastest time in their Nissan R35 GTR Skyline on eight of the thirteen stages.
Graham Romyn and Neville Wilkinson had spent much of the event in third place, but that came to an end on the fifth stage when the team left the track and ended up in a ditch.
Nine stages awaited competitors when they headed into the scenic Perth Hills region on the second day of the rally.
The day’s 65kms, fast park roads and tricky technical corners including the Zig Zag required commitment from drivers.
After a wet night in Malaga, competitors were thankful for a dry run.
The rally saw its fair share of drama with mechanical problems surfacing for some teams at the end of day two.
Competitors started their final day on Sunday by tackling the 9km Malaga Shamrock Stage three times, before moving into the city to complete the 2.2km Targa City Sprint Stage.
The city stage began with a superkhana-style course that commanded precision driving, before testing the full extent of their power along the long straight of Riverside Drive.
There was back to back wins on the line for both Peter Major in Modern Competition category and Sharon Gunson in Modern Challenge category.
No stranger to the Quit Targa West podium, last year’s champion Peter Major expertly drove his brand new Porsche 996 Turbo to claim his fourth win. He and co-driver Greg Flood completed the 242kms in 1:55.
“For a car that was built in seven weeks and then driven for the first time in an event untested, this is an amazing result,” said Major.
Will White and Matt Thompson (Mitsubishi Evo 9) had Major and Flood in their sights, but the hope of any slip up from their competition didn’t eventuate and the 46 second gap couldn’t be closed.
O’Dowd and co-driver Ben Searcy crossed the finish line in 15th position.
Simon Gunson, Murray Armenti and their Ford Capri Perana stayed a formidable force for the entire event. The team finished with a time of 1:59.43, a result that saw Gunson take his second Quit Targa West win and share the podium with wife Sharon, who also won her category.
“We’ve made it – another one, the second one is even better than the first one,” said Gunson.
“This is the first time Sharon and I have both been up on the podium together.
Consistent driving and a reliable car saw Mark Dobson and Nigel Jones in the Triumph TR7 sit in second place from the first leg to the last.
The team finished 2 minutes and 57 seconds behind Gunson and Armenti.
“We’re happy with second,” said Dobson.
“We realised we couldn’t quite make Simon’s pace, but we did well and have achieved our fastest ever times.
“The car has performed faultlessly – only at one service did we put a little bit of oil in it and put on some new tyres.”
Simon Lingford and Avril Curtis rounded out the top three in their Datsun 240Z.
The duo crossed the finish line with a 6 minute 28 second gap to the leaders.
Sharon Gunson and Alexandra Wilde did a fantastic job holding off the competition in the Modern Challenge category.
Gunson and Wilde are a new pairing, with Gunson’s previous co-driver Helen Lunsmann co-driving for her husband Jurgen this year.
“The win feels fantastic,” said Gunson.
After a fantastic third leg Todd Zani and Jon Mortimer in the HSV Clubsport R8 briefly had claimed second place off husband and wife team George and Kerry Watts.
It was first time Quit Targa West entrant Phil Peak and co-driver Sam Hackett had claimed the win in the Classic Challenge category.
Bob Fisher and daughter Louise Paul took third place in their Triumph TR4a.
There were six Quit Targa West newcomers who entered the Rookie category, a two-day event within the main event for first time entrants.
This year Keith Bromfield and Ian Bruce took out top honours in their Mercedes AMG GLA45.
“It’s the first time I have ever raced a car and to come out and win our class is ‘wow’ – not something we were expecting,” Bromfield said.
“A few rookie mistakes were made along the road, but I guess that is why we’re rookies. It was an absolutely brilliant experience and I’m already planning to do it again.”
For complete results, see www.rallyresults.com.au/targawest/2016