Successful Targa Tasmania for Team Skelta
- 22nd April 2008, 1:00pm
Both teams had runs devoid of major problems and continued to move up the leader board right to the very end of the event. What was ultimately a great result was soured by the fact that Vandersee/Kelley were penalised for stopping to offer assistance to the crew of a crashed car near lunchtime on day four. This penalty ultimately cost the Skelta team its first podium in the Targa Tasmania tarmac event.
“What was really disappointing was that the Clerk of Course would not even consider our in-car footage evidence,” said the understandably upset Vandersee. “The rules state that no competitor will be disadvantaged for stopping to give assistance to a fellow crew in distress. Yet we received a seven second penalty on a stage on which we were clearly going to lose no time. This was all the more disappointing as earlier vehicles on the scene failed to stop.”
The seven second penalty ultimately pushed the hard charging team to a four second deficit behind the Subaru crew of Dean Herridge and Glenn Macneall.
“We were obviously having a really close battle with the Subaru pairing so the result was always going to be close. But we were taking big lumps of time out of them in the closing stages and to be knocked off the podium by a poorly calculated derived time is a bitter pill to swallow,” said Vandersee.
Internationally renowned race driver and veteran of eleven Le Mans 24 hour races, Nick Faure, made a steady but calculated start in the event and held 35th place after day one. Competing for the first time in Targa Tasmania and never having driven the Skelta before, Faure was gobsmacked with the surefootedness of the vehicle.
“I've never before used pace notes so it took some time to get used to the idea of taking on board the co-driver's instructions. But towards the end of the event we were starting to get into sync and it was only then that I was able to start to appreciate the vast limits of the grip and handling of the Skelta,” he said.
“It's a very forgiving car to drive with exceptional braking and tremendous grip,” an impressed Faure added.
On the last day Faure and Reeves started setting top ten stage times and moved up to an impressive 17th outright. Faure is keen to return next year and forecasts a much better result with the knowledge and experience he has gained this year.
Competing in a gruelling five day event like Targa requires a real team effort and Ray Vandersee would like to acknowledge the contributions and efforts of the whole team including his first time co-driver Jenna Kelley, co-driver for Nick, Cameron Reeves, and service/support crew members Dennis & Louise Neagle, Ian Daniel, Tim Powell, Daniel Lemish, Guy Bedington and Bruce & Sue Vandersee. Ray would also like to thank Nick Faure for his involvement and for bringing back the car safely in one piece.
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