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Defending title holders Glenn Inkster and Spencer Winn (Mitsubishi Evo 8) have taken a decisive early class and overall event lead in this year’s Targa New Zealand tarmac motor rally which started at the Hampton Downs circuit in the northern Waikato this afternoon.. The pair were untroubled in taking the AndrewSimms.co.nz Allcomers 4WD class and overall event wins in the first two competitive stages of this year’s five-day 739kms Auckland-to-Wellington event to arrive at the first overnight stop in Hamilton with a 22.3 second lead over the Subaru WRX Impreza of fellow Aucklanders Leigh Hopper and Michael Goudie. In third place a further four seconds back after the 9.44km Rotongaro and 13.03km Waikokowai stages west of Huntly was Jason Gill and Mark Robinson, who in turn had a margin of just two seconds over fellow Mitsubishi Evo pair Chris West and Chris Cobham. Hopper and Leigh had an early scare when the engine of their Subaru started overheating, but though the car arrived in Hamilton on the back of a salvage truck Hopper believed it was an easy fix, having shut the engine down (hence the need to truck it from stage end to Hamilton) before it got too hot and set to replace the thermostat before parc ferme tonight. Though today’s event stages favoured the smaller, more nimble AndrewSimms.co.nz Allcomers 4WD class turbo 4WD Mitsubishis and Subarus, Perth-based expat Kiwi Robert Darrington and co-driver David Abetz were first Global Security Allcomers 2WD class starters home in sixth place, just ahead of the similar BMW M3 of Global Security Production 2WD class leaders Mike Tubbs and Michael Vincent who were seventh overall. Leading the Metalman Classic class, meanwhile, were regular front runners Mark and Chris Kirk-Burnnand from Wellington in their BMW M3. They ended the day 15th overall, two places ahead of class runners-up Rob Ryan and Paul Burborough in Ryan’s Toyota AE86. RESULTS DAY 1
  1. G. Inkster/S. Winn (#954 Mitsubishi Evo 8) 9:34.3
  2. L. Hopper/M. Goudie (#969 Subaru Impreza STi R) +22.3
  3. J. Gill/M. Robinson (#972 Mitsubishi Evo 9) +26.3
  4. C. West/C. Cobham (#975 Mitsubishi Evo 10) +28.3
  5. N. Waal/S. Reynolds (#980 Subaru WRX STi RA) +52.6
  6. R. Darrington/D. Abetz (#746 BMW M3) +52.9
  7. M. Tubbs/M. Vincent (#531 BMW M3) +58.9 1st in
  8. B. Green/F. Pedersen (#958 Mitsubishi Mirage Evo) +59.5
  9. D. Rogers/A. Kelly (#976 Mitsubishi Evo 10)       +59.6
  10. S. Kirk-Burnnand/M. Hay (#756 BMW 318ti Compact) +59.8
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