The Quit Targa West – all the modern action

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Air and fire if you will. Targa events certainly make for a great spectacle
Air and fire if you will. Targa events certainly make for a great spectacle

Ashley Westwood took in the Quit Targa West over the weekend and here we take a look a the modern categories, in what was a great event…

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Steve Jones continued to write his own Quit Targa West story today winning the Competition Modern category for a record fourth time. His four wins, twice as many as any other driver, have come from just five appearances in WA’s premier tarmac rally. His first victory came in 2008 also making him the youngest driver to win the rally. His other two wins were in 2011 and 2012. He has also won it in two very different types of car, a Nissan GTR (three times) and a Mitsubishi Evo.

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Jones, who has not competed since his last win in 2012, teamed up with Caleb Ash in an Evo 8 MR and had the event all but sown up going into the last day.  Though his cause was helped by Peter Rullo and Jimmy Marquet being forced out of the rally with mechanical issues when only a few seconds separated the two cars. It is the third year in succession that Rullo has been a spectator at the presentations after mechanical issues have ended his campaign when he had his Nissan GTR in a winning position.

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“I missed the last two years because I was bit burnt out to be honest,” Jones said “I had spent two years campaigning in a Nissan GTR in Tasmania and blew my budget and lost my passion to drive and when I came home I decided to have a break. This year I drove for fun in a car that I love. The Evo has always been my favourite car — they are a great rally car and I just love driving them.  It took me a little while to get back into the swing of competing and on the first day we spent a bit of time in the gravel. But Cashy (his co-driver Caleb Ash) got me back on track and we got better as the rally progressed.”

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In the Challenge Modern category Razvan Vlad and Daymon Nicoli made amends for their disappointment last year, when they lost the lead on the last day, with a solid all-the-way victory.  The pair, driving a Ford Fiesta ST, were consistent and fast over the four-day event to finish well ahead of the husband and wife team of Angela and Davyd Hooper, who swapped seats for this event, in a Ford Focus XR5.

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In one of the most intriguing contests in the 10-year history of the Quit Targa West six teams were still in contention to take out the main prize midway through the rally.  By lunchtime on day three it was down to three and by the end of day three Jones had put enough of a gap between him and last year’s winners Peter Major and Greg Flood to be able to take more cautious approach on the final day.

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Veteran team, and two-time winners of the Competition Modern category, Jim Richards and Barry Oliver may not have been battling it out for a podium position this year in their new Porsche Cayman S which has 300hp less power than the GT3 they have raced in recent years, they still qualified for the most spectacular photo.  On the opening stage in Whiteman Park the pair got plenty of air under the Cayman as they went over a speed bump. They also picked up the trophy as the winner of the Outright Showroom class.

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RESULTS – MODERN

73 JONES – ASH 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 MR OM 01:49:17 1 00:00
91 MAJOR – FLOOD 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 MR OM 01:50:18 2 01:01
36 SEARCY – HEATON 2009 Nissan GTR 35 OM 01:51:13 3 01:56
53 WHITBURN – PHILLIP-CLARKE 1999 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6.5 EM 01:53:10 4 03:53
34 WHITE – THOMPSON 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 LM 01:54:22 5 05:05
59 O’NEILL – LISTER 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STi Spec LM 01:54:28 6 05:11
39 WILKINSON – EDGAR 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 LM 01:54:41 7 05:24
42 STAGOLL – STAGOLL 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 RS LM 01:56:25 8 07:08
33 CONACHER – CONACHER 2008 Nissan GTR 35 OM 01:57:19 9 08:02

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RESULTS – MODERN CHALLENGE

20c VLAD – NICOLI 2007 Ford Fiesta ST OM 02:12:06 1 00:00
98c HOOPER – HOOPER 2009 Ford Focus XR5 OM (-1) 02:22:34 2 00:00

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Photos by Ashley Westwood,  August 2014

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