Major a step closer to Targa West victory
- 18th August 2013, 9:43am
The pace was hot but Mitsubishi driver Peter Major emerged a step closer to a maiden victory after day three of the Quit Targa West rally near Perth.
Major has led the Competition-Modern category since the start on Thursday and will enter the final six stages with a 32 second lead, but knows he can't rest until he crosses the finish line on Perth's Riverside Drive tomorrow afternoon.
He won four of today's 12 Special Stages, but so did Nissan GT-R35 driver Jon-Paul van Loenhout, while Peter Rullo won three in another Nissan.
Von Loenhout finished third, behind Ben Searcy, but Rullo ended his rally early with his car parked against a power pole.
"It was a long, hard day pushing to stay ahead of Peter Rullo. There was nothing in it and it was a pity Rullo went off the road," Major's co-driver Greg Flood said.
"Peter drove really well to win the last stage, Bullsbrook Long. He was very committed and pushed hard to keep us ahead of the Nissans.
"Tomorrow's a shorter day, but we can still lose it on the three runs through Malaga with even a small mistake.
"We'll decide overnight whether to use our two spare tyres. We've been on the same four tyres since the start and they're holding up pretty well. We made a good choice to use soft-compound tyres and in the wet conditions on Thursday that gave us an advantage we've been able to carry through the event so far."
Rullo went out on the 8.55 kilometre Toodyay 2 stage, clouting a pole with both sides of his car. But co-driver Scott Beckwith said their crew discovered later the front differential had failed and probably caused the crash.
"Peter didn't make an error. He's a good steerer but with the front diff gone there was nothing much he could do," Beckwith said.
The lead changed again in the Competition-Classic category. After Paul Moltoni crashed from first position yesterday, it was the turn today of the driver who inherited the lead, Simon Gunson.
Gunson took seven stages, but on Toodyay 2 went off the road in his Ford Capri Perana and into retirement.
Mark Dobson and his 1975 Triumph TR7 now lead into the closing stages with a one-minute advantage over Simon Lingford (Datsun 240Z). Graham Romyn is third in a Holden Torana A9X.
Razvan Vlad holds a lead of just 28 sec over Sharon Gunson in Challenge-Modern, while Bruce Lake in a Datsun 240Z took over the lead in the Challenge-Classic section.
Tomorrow's final day promises plenty of action and entertainment for spectators.
Thousands are expected at the Malaga Special Stage, to be run three times past many businesses hosting parties in the industrial estate.
The Killarnee City of Perth stage starting on Riverside Drive at 1.08 pm will close the event after 203 km of Special Stages. The course will be used for historic-car sprints in the morning, while the Shannons Classics on the Park will draw many fans to Langley Park.
RESULTS (Day Three | Provisional)
1 MAJOR/FLOOD (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) Total time 1:14.14
2 SEARCY/MARQUET (Nissan GT-R35) 1:14.49
3 VAN LOENHOUT/WHITE (Nissan GT-R35) 1:15.00
1 DOBSON/BUTCHER (Triumph TR7) 1:23.23
2 LINGFORD/LINGFORD (Datsun 240Z) 1:24.23
3 ROMYN/JONES (Holden Torana A9X) 1:24.50
1 VLAD/VLAD (Ford Fiesta ST) 1:25.28
2 GUNSON/LUNSMANN (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) 1:25.56
3 MATTHEWSON/PADLEY (BMW 1M) 1:31.13
1 LAKE/HALL (Datsun 240Z) 1:28.10
2 BUYS/AKSAMIJA (Porsche 911) 1:29.31
3 THOMPSON/THOMPSON (Porsche 911RS) 1:30.01
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