It’s a great long weekend of action as the City of Albany roars to life with classic and modern cars racing the clock.
There are three rally events over two days, the Auto One Targa Quaranup Rallysprint (driver and co-driver and the course goes in both directions), and the Quaranup Sprint (drivers only, one direction) will be held on Sunday, and the Auto One Targa Albany Sprint (drivers only) held on Monday.
On Sunday (6/3/22), the Auto One Targa Quaranup Sprint is a speed course challenging competitor over a 2.55-kilometres up to the historic Camp Quaranup which they will tackle four times, over a total competitive distance of 10.2 kilometres.
The Sprint courses are a speed event for drivers only, while the Rallysprint course requires a co-driver and a full safety set up that includes a roll cage, five-point harness, front head restraints along with other requirements as set out in the regulations.
The Quaranup Sprint is not designed for spectators as there is no side access.
The main event is on Monday (7/3/22), the Auto One Targa Albany Sprint, is a challenging 2.8-kilometre course starting from Middleton Beach and runs up to the Anzac Centre on Mt Adelaide along one of the most scenic backdrops in the Great Southern.
Drivers (without co-drivers) will tackle the course four times, tallying up a total competitive distance of approximately 11.2 kilometres, the winner being the fastest run from top to bottom as opposed to the fastest accumulated time. Additional runs may be added if time permits.
It’s more than just fastest through the course, drivers need technical skill and precision to avoid penalties for hitting chicanes or barriers (5 seconds), driving on the wrong side of a bollard or barrier (30 seconds) and speeding.
Major sponsor Auto One Albany will be in open all long weekend if any of the competitors need parts or tools for repairs.
Auto One Albany partner Ramon Panizza is also a competitor in the rally driving a 1976 Ford Escort Mark II.
“We had a lot of fun last year and I’m looking forward to the competition again this year,” Panizza said.
Last November at the Targa Bunbury Sprint, Panizza blew a diff and has had to wait for a custom diff to arrive from the UK.
“The diff only arrived three weeks ago, and we’ve had to retro fit it and weld in new mounts, and we’re still working on the car – we’ve been burning the midnight oil to get it ready in time,” said Panizza, whose family has worked in the automotive industry for four generations.
“Hopefully in the next day or two I’ll be able to test it.”
With the improvements made to his classic Escort, Panizza is hoping to take it to the next level and better last year’s result where he finished third in his class and in 39th overall.
Panizza added that Albany’s locally owned auto parts store, AutoOne, will have a marquee at Middle Beach where there’s a chance to win a 218-piece SP Tool Roller Cabinet valued at $2,500 by joining the free A1 Club.
Last year’s winner Alex Rullo said he’s looking for a back-to-back win in his 2014 Lamborghini Gallardo.
“Last year was awesome, we had a lot of fun, but we also had a few issues and just scraped through,” said Rullo, a former V8 Supercar driver.
“We’ve been working on the car flat out changing the ECU – the computer – over to Motec and we’ve given the car a birthday, a general tidy up, so hopefully this year we’ll have a smoother run.”
Auto One Targa Albany Sprint attracts all makes and models of cars from the exotic to the classic including a 1973 Holden Kingswood, 1938 Ford Pickup, 1970 Porsche 911, 1971 Datsun 260Z, , 2007 Chevrolet Corvette, 2014 Lamborghini Gallardo, and the only electric rally car, a 2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance, as well as a large array of models from Holden, Ford, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Subaru, Toyota, Mazda and more.
Auto One Targa Albany Sprint event director Ross Tapper OAM said the course attracted a capacity field of competitors who like the technical and challenging courses and the added bonus of it being held on the Amazing South Coast.
“Sunday is a technical course and will favour more experienced drivers, and Monday’s course is good for drivers off all levels, including rookies,” Tapper said.
“Competitors love coming to Albany and it’s a great for spectators too with stunning views over Frenchman Bay and along Marine Drive,” Tapper said.
The pit area is free and open for spectators to mingle with the competitors and get up close and personal with the cars and crews. There are a number of fantastic locations to watch the rally action including the fast uphill straight along Marine Drive, accessible from the Boardwalk.
The entire event is run under the auspices of Motorsport Australia.
Racing is set to start at 9am and finish at 4pm. Check https://www.targaalbanysprint.com.au/spectators/ for details.
Competitors are racing for title honours and glory with trophies awarded to the top three and category winners at the Auto One Marquee after the event. Everyone’s welcome.
For more information on the Targa Albany Sprint and results, visit https://www.targaalbanysprint.com.au/