QUIT Targa West 2010 got underway on Thursday with the running of the Searle Race Equipment Prologue, SS1 and SS2 at Whiteman Park.

With the event making its debut to Whiteman Park this year seventy-six competitors completed two prologue laps of the 3.75 kilometer course. Prologue is run to determine the start order of the rally.
These laps were then followed by SS1 and SS2 – the first time in the events six-year history the opening stages have been held on Thursday.

Australian motorsport legend Jim Richards (Porsche GT2) has returned to the event in 2010 and along with co-driver Barry Oliver is leading the charge in the Competition Modern class.
The first stage of the rally however, spelt disaster for defending Competition Modern Champion Steve Jones and new co-driver Ben Searcy when their Nissan GTR 35 suffered engine failure at the end of the stage.
Jones, who was looking to be the first driver to win the event for the third time, and his crew are still looking at options for him to rejoin the rally for the start of stages tomorrow morning.

After the two stages Peter Major and Kim Screaigh (Nissan GTR 35) are sitting behind Richards in second with Ross Hamilton and Tony Robson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) in third.

In the Competition Classic class Tolley Challis and Greg Flood (Porsche 911 RS) have a 2 second lead over nearest rival Keith Callinan and Mary-Anne Callinan (DeTomaso Pantera) with Paul Moltoni and Ian de Boer (Porsche 911 RS) in third.

Last year’s Challenge Modern winners Mark and Andrew Conacher (Nissan GTR 35) are once again leading the class from the front, finishing the day with a 4 second lead over Robert Darrington and David Abetz (Nissan GTR 35).   Keith and Russell Hawley are the closest crew to the two GTR’s but sit 35 seconds behind.
The Challenge Classic class is building to be a clash of the Porsches with the top three crews all in 911’s.  Paul and Mitch Thompson are leading the pack 3 seconds clear of Robert Buys/Sanja Aksamija and Andrew Cutten/Matthew Teape.
The ceremonial start will be held in Murray Street Mall from 7:30am tomorrow before the crews head out to the RAC driving centre then onto the Shire of Kalamunda.
QUIT Targa West is being held from the 26th - 29th August 2010 in the Shires of Kalamunda and Toodyay and the City of Swan and City of Perth.
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