BMW driver Peter Gluskie says he would feel guilty if he managed to snare a shock win in the Shannons Classic outright component of the Australian CAMS Targa Championship.
Gluskie and co-driver Samantha Winter, in their 1985 BMW E30 325i, are the only combination who could unseat Michael and Daniel Bray from the top spot going into the finale at Targa High Country at Mount Buller from November 9 to 11.
The Brays have proved a dominant force in their 1975 Holden Torana in the previous three rounds of the ultimate tarmac rally Championship this year, amassing 240 points.
Gluskie and Winter are on 187 points with a maximum of 70 points on offer for the win at the Victorian alpine event.
“It looks like the Brays have probably got the Classic outright title sewn up but you just never know,” Gluskie said.
“For us to win we would need the Bray Torana to not finish and we would have to win as the fastest classic outright in the field.
“But gauging on last year, I think we were the third fastest outright so realistically it is a long shot at best.
“In some ways I would feel guilty if we did sneak over the line because the Brays have been so dominant.”
More likely for Gluskie is the Shannons Classic Handicap title.
He cashed in on the early exit of Graham Copeland (1941 GMC Jimmy Special) at the previous event, Targa Great Barrier Reef, in September.
The Melbourne-based competitor moved to 185 points in the Shannons Classic Handicap battle, 15 clear of Copeland.
“We were lucky in that regard - Graham Copeland was our main rival,” Gluskie said.
“You don’t want to wish unreliability upon people but that’s the way it played out for him.
“We set ourselves for the Championship all year. We’ve been playing the long game.
“Although we haven’t stated it publicly, clearly our goal for the year was to turn up to all four events and get close to a podium in all four figuring that should get us close to the title.
“It’s (BMW) one of those cars that just keeps going. It’s ultra-reliable and that has been one of our strengths.
“As far as the driveline is concerned it is standard, so it’s not stressed beyond its limits.
“We get to the finish line and it has been in the mix.
“Mathematically for the Classic Handicap title, Graham (Copeland) is our closest rival, so we’ve got to get our car over the line in a prominent position and history shows we are capable of that.
“We can’t control what happens to everybody else but hopefully it is enough to defend our lead.
“Being Melbourne-based, the roads at High Country we know reasonably well, so it’s our home event. This will be the fourth High Country we have done and the familiarity helps.
“It will be interesting to see if the course changes make a difference this year. It probably takes a couple of fast stages off us.
“Our top speed is probably 5 or 10km/h higher than a couple of our rivals.
“In the Classic group there are half a dozen or more who are actually chasing the Championship.
“It shows that people are willing to commit to the four rounds and make the investment.
“To have the CAMS stamp on it gives it a bit of prestige and I hope I’m the one who gets the trophy.”
For more details, including road closure information, on Targa High Country click here.
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