Jones makes Quit Targa West his own
- 20th August 2014, 1:39am
Steve Jones continued to write his own Quit Targa West story today winning the Competition Modern category for a record fourth time. His four wins, twice as many as any other driver, have come from just five appearances in WA’s premier tarmac rally. His first victory came in 2008 also making him the youngest driver to win the rally. His other two wins were in 2011 and 2012. He has also won it in two very different types of car, a Nissan GTR (three times) and a Mitsubishi Evo.
Jones, who has not competed since his last win in 2012, teamed up with Caleb Ash in an Evo 8 MR and had the event all but sown up going into the last day. Though his cause was helped by Peter Rullo and Jimmy Marquet being forced out of the rally with mechanical issues when only a few seconds separated the two cars.It is the third year in succession that Rullo has been a spectator at the presentations after mechanical issues have ended his campaign when he had his Nissan GTR in a winning position.
“I missed the last two years because I was bit burnt out to be honest,” Jones said “I had spent two years campaigning in a Nissan GTR in Tasmania and blew my budget and lost my passion to drive and when I came home I decided to have a break. This year I drove for fun in a car that I love. The Evo has always been my favourite car — they are a great rally car and I just love driving them. It took me a little while to get back into the swing of competing and on the first day we spent a bit of time in the gravel. But Cashy (his co-driver Caleb Ash) got me back on track and we got better as the rally progressed.”
In one of the most intriguing contests in the 10-year history of the Quit Targa West six teams were still in contention to take out the main prize midway through the rally. By lunchtime on day three it was down to three and by the end of day three Jones had put enough of a gap between him and last year’s winners Peter Major and Greg Flood to be able to take more cautious approach on the final day.
Twelve months after watching their wives stand on the podium, Simon Gunson and Jurgen Lunsmann had their moment of glory at the 2014 Quit Targa West as winners of the Competition Classic category. Driving in a 1971 Ford Capri Perana V8, the pair had a trouble-free rally taking the lead in the first stage at Whiteman Park on Thursday and were never headed. They went into the final day of the rally with a comfortable enough lead to enjoy the last few stages and put on a show for the thousands of spectators who turned up at Malaga and the city. The pair joined forces three years ago when Gunson bought the 1971 Perana but were hindered by mechanical problems in their first two Targa Wests together. But it all came together this year.
“How good is this? We are just wrapped to be standing up here.” Gunson said. “We had a few issues throughout the rally but we have the best service team and they kept us going for the four days. At one stage last year we thought we were going to be sharing the podium with the girls but it was not to be. But it was a case of third time lucky this year and we are going to really enjoy it.”
Gunson and Lunsmann finished ahead of last year’s winners Mark Dobson and Greg Butcher who had to nurse their Triumph TR 7 V8 through the rally after damaging the gearbox on the first day ad losing first gear.Simon and Susannah Lingford, driving a 1973 Datsun 240Z, again showed they are one of the best combinations in the category adding a third place to their second last year.
In the Challenge Modern category Razvan Vlad and Daymon Nicoli made amends for their disappointment last year, when they lost the lead on the last day, with a solid all-the-way victory. The pair, driving a Ford Fiesta ST, were consistent and fast over the four-day event to finish well ahead of the husband and wife team of Angela and Davyd Hooper, who swapped seats for this event, in a Ford Focus XR5.
Rob Buys and Sanja Aksamija were one of the teams that had the advantage of being able to “nurse” their car through the penultimate Malaga stage this morning. With a comfortable lead over the rest of the competition in the Challenge Classic category Buys, who is renowned for his aggressive driving, just wanted to make sure he finished the event after having to settle for the runners-up trophy for the past two years. His last win in the category was in 2012.
While not competing in one of the four major categories, one driver who grabbed everyones attention was first time competitor Mark Greenham. Driving in the newly added Rookie Rallye Modern category with Steph Leach in a Mitusibishi Evo, Greenham, who has won the last two McRae Motorsport Rallysprint Series, recorded the fastest time overall in seven stages, including all three at Malaga yesterday morning and the first stage in the city. But his rally came to an inglorious end in the penultimate stage of the rally crashing into a barrier and the team of Adrian Stefan and Allan Matthewson won the category. Peter Ward and Michael Stevens took out the inaugural Rookie Rallye Classic category in a 1978 Porsche 911.
Veteran team, and two-time winners of the Competition Modern category, Jim Richards and Barry Oliver may not have been battling it out for a podium position this year in their new Porsche Cayman S which has 300hp less power than the GT3 they have raced in recent years, they still qualified for the most spectacular photo. On the opening stage in Whiteman Park the pair got plenty of air under the Cayman as they went over a speed bump. They also picked up the trophy as the winner of the Outright Showroom class.
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