Early Targa NZ lead for Inkster
- 24th October 2012, 10:02am
Heading into this year's event it looked like recently crowned New Zealand rally champions - and 2008 Targa NZ winners - Richard and Sara Mason would be making it a three-way battle with the Quinn/Tillett and Inkster/Winn combinations but their Subaru overheated on the first stage, the damage to the car's engine enough to see them retire after the second.
Quinn and Tillett won the first two stages but Inkster and Winn were only two seconds behind in the first - the 12.8km Glen Afton/Massey sprint west of Huntly - and just a second back in the next one, the even shorter 8.93km Kakepuku south of Te Awamutu.
It was a case of third time lucky for Inkster and Winn in the next stage - the 15.87 km Turitea north of Otorohanga - however, the pair claimingtheir first stage win of the event, albeit by just a second from Quinn and Tillett with 2011 Targa Rotorua winners Leigh Hopper and Simon Kirkpatrick (Subaru Impreza) third a further six seconds back.
Hopper and Kirkpatrick then won their first stage - the 39.43km Otewa/Rangitoto east of Te Kuiti - with Quinn and Tillett second and Inkster and Winn third.
The Quinn/Tillett Nissan GT-R35 still led overall heading to the lunch stop at Te Kuiti, as it did after the first afternoon stage - the 14.4km Waitomo Caves - in which Quinn and Tillett and Inkster and Winn shared the winning time of seven minutes and one second.
Where the balance changed was in the next stage - the longest in the event - the 47.53km Kawhia Harbour one.
"We had a really good run through there and took 35 seconds out of Tony," said Inkster at day's end in New Plymouth." He took 17 back out of us in the final stage but it was Kawhia Harbour, if you like, which made the difference."
Conditions were cool and wet early on in the day but improved as the 50-plus competing cars and 30-plus associated Targa Tour entries travelled south-west from Auckland this morning.
Class-wise the big winners today were Inglewood pair Stuart Rose and Gary Renall in Metalman Classic, and Gavin and Amy Riches in Modern 2WD.
In similar wet/dry conditions Rose and Gary Renall won the Metalman Classic class at this year's two-day Targa Rotorua event back in June in their much modified V8-engined Toyota Hilux ute, and the pair continued on their winning class way today.
Second was the only pair in the class to beat Rose and Renall to a stage win, Barry and Stephen Kirk-Burnnand, third Barry's Wellington based nephew Mark and his father Chris, both pairings behind the wheel of rather more pure-bred BMW M3s.
Also impressing wiht their first day pace were USA-based expats Gavin and Amy Riches (Porsche GT3) who dominated the Modern 2WD class, winning six of the seven stages from top local pairing Mark Whyte and Tracey Lance (Toyota Altezza V8) from Paeroa.
Whyte and Lance, and third-placed BMW Mini pair Barry Hare and Andrew MacKintosh, managed to turn the tables on the Riches in the final 35.98km Marakopa/Awakino stage but the Riches still take a margin of just over two minutes into the event's second day tomorrow.
Despite the conditions there were no major accidents though several entrants - amongst them the highly-rated Harry Dodson/Glen Cupitt Nissan GT-R35 - were slowed by mechanical issues.
At least they got to start the event.
After a long trip up from Waimate where they had competed at the Waimate 50 reunion meeting Australian couple Keith and Mary-Anne Callinan were set last night to start this year's Targa New Zealand event. Their classic Holden Monaro had other ideas though, the engine's camshaft breaking within sight of the start.
Targa New Zealand continues tomorrow with a further seven stages between New Plymouth and Taupo. On Thursday it heads from Taupo to Palmerston North, then on Friday north to Taihape then east across the Gentle Annie to the Hawke's Bay where after a final day of stages it finishes in Havelock North.
The 2012 Targa New Zealand tarmac rally is brought to you with the support of sponsors APN, Britz, NZ Classic Car magazine, Federal motorsport tyres, Instra Corporation, Meguiars, Metalman, Mobil1, TeamTalk, TrackIt, VTNZ, and the Hastings District Council.
RESULTS - DAY 1
1. Glenn Inkster/Spencer Winn (Mitsubishi Evo6) 01:26:41
2. Tony Quinn/Naomi Tillett(Nissan R35 GT-R) 01:26:55
3. Leigh Hopper/Simon Kirkpatrick (Subaru Impreza WRX Sti) 01:27:30
4. Jason Gill / Malcolm Read (Mistubishi Evo 9 GT) 01:29:10
5. Rick Giddy/Joel Giddy (Subaru WRX Sti 01:32:56
6. Graeme Wong/Cy Guest (Subaru Impreza WRX Sti) 01:38:23
7. David Rogers/Aiden Kelly (Mitsubishi Evo X RS) 01:38:29
8. Brent Early/Samuel Early (Nissan Skyline) 01:40:13
9. Alan Raynor/Tanja Luckow (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 RS) 01:41:50
10. John Birch/Chris Birch (Ford Escort Cosworth) 1.46.53
1. Stuart Rose/Gary Renall (Toyota Hilux V8) 01:36:59
2. Barry Kirk-Burnnand/Steven Kirk-Burnnand (BMW M3) 01:37:47
3. Mark Kirk-Burnnand/Chris Kirk-Burnnand (BMW M3) 01:38:29
4. Bevan Claridge/Jason Easton (Holdon Commodore V8) 01:41:08
5. Andrew Smith/Richard Haakma (BMW 320i) 01:42:26
6. Bernie Hiestand/Jilly Hutson (Ford Capri 2.8i) 01:43:40
7. Eddie Grooten/Ben Grooten (Porsche 911 SC) 01:43:41
8. Carl Kirk-Burnnand/Sam Gordon (BMW 325i) 01:43:50
9. Peter Jones/Tim Eddington (Ford Escort MK1 Sport) 01:44:33
10. Mark McCaughan/Brett Perry (Fiat 125) 01:44:59
1. Gavin Riches/Amy Riches (Porsche GT3) 01:31:18
2. Mark Whyte/Tracey Lance (Toyota Altezza V8) 01:33:28
3. Barry Hare/Andrew Mackintosh (BMW Mini Cooper) 01:38:05
4. Keith Penny/John Cuff (Honda Civic Type R) 01:40:43
5. Bob Boniface/Simon Butler(BMW 135i) 01:41:02
6. Allan Lewis/Colin Cole (Datsun 240z V8) 01:41:32
7. Mike Sexton/Ricky cooper(BMW M3 E36) 01:42:16
8. Michael Welch/John Welch (BMW E36) 01:42:22
9. Masao Take/Takako Akaba (Nissan 380Z) 01:43:03
10. Antony Rountree/Mathew Foster (Ford Mustang) 01:44:56
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