Only one round remains in the CAMS Australian Targa Championship as it heads to Victoria’s east for Targa High Country.
With the title battle expected to go right down the wire in the picturesque Mount Buller and surrounding areas, cams.com.au looks back at each round ahead of the season finale.
Targa North West
Jason and John White begun the new season as they finished the last, standing on the top step of the podium, only this time it was their first as Targa North West winners.
Putting a disappointing DNF from last year’s corresponding round behind them, the Dodge Viper duo led the field from start to finish, ending the championship’s first round with their fourth straight Targa victory.
Doing as much as they could to reign in the Whites all race, Paul Stokell and Kate Catford ended the weekend one minute and 22 seconds behind in second place – a solid start to the 2018 champion’s title defence.
In third place, a late charge from Michael Pritchard on the second day of action saw him take out third place at the expense of John Ireland.
Other notable results saw Mick Downey the pick of the Classic GTs, Ralph and Malcolm Norton sneak past Jesse Medwin and Zak Brakey for GT4 honours, the GT Sports Trophy fall into the laps of Tony and Sandra Seymour and Targa veterans Jack Waldron and Vin Gregory steer their 1981 Mitsubishi Stigma to the Thoroughbred Trophy.
One the biggest tarmac rallies on the Australian motor sport calendar and the six-day event definitely delivered this year, as Stokell and Catford finally got the win.
The event turned out to be a survival of the fittest as a number of title contenders either crashed out or suffered big time penalties, including the Whites.
All the drama started on the second day of action when the Whites were demoted to the middle of the field, before the leaders in Steve Glenney and Dennis Sims suffered a serious crash the following day to see their weekend done.
Stokell and Catford then continued to pile the pressure on new leaders Matt Close and co-driver Cameron Reeves and eventually got to the front by the end of the fourth day, a position they net let go for the remainder of the event.
Michael and Daniel Bray were back on the Classics winners’ list after Mick Downey and Nicholas Browne were handed 15-minute penalty.
A number of the other classes had different winners too with Angus Kennard and Ian Wheeler winning the GT4, Steven Sher and Fergal Murphy the GT Sports Trophy and Tyson and Celise Cowie were Thoroughbred Trophy victors.
Targa Great Barrier Reef
The Whites redeemed themselves after a disappointing outcome in Tasmania to storm home to a 53 second win on the tropical coast of Queensland.
Unlike the inaugural round last year, the Whites were locked in a tight battle with Stokell and Catford, with the latter grabbing the first two stages.
The Whites bounced back straight away, finishing faster on the next five stages, while Jeff Morton and Daymon Nicoli added themselves into the mix with an impressive stage win themselves.
The two leading cars then exchanged stage victories before White got the breakthrough with a comfortable wins on the 14th stage and 15th stages, extending his lead to more than a minute.
Stokell was able to peg it back down 10 seconds, but it was all in vain as the Whites came away with their second round win of the season, while Stokell and Catford finished in second place ahead of Mark Cates and Declan Stafford.
Meanwhile, Mick Downey and Jarrod Van Den Akker were on top again in the Classic GTs, Tyson and Celise Cowie made it two Thoroughbred Trophy wins in a row and Mitch and Darryl Ringuet won the GT Sports Trophy.
Click here to download the full standings.
The CAMS Australian Targa Championship wraps up its 2019 season with next month’s Targa High Country taking place in Mansfield and Mount Buller in Victoria on 9-11 November.