The final round of the inaugural CAMS Australian Targa Championship is almost underway with cars completing their scrutineering checks for Targa High Country.
More than 180 cars have entered the much-anticipated season finale, with competitors set to tackle up to 270 competitive kilometres over 20 special stages around Victoria’s iconic Mount Buller.
With the cold start to the weekend expected to make way for a sensational sunny ending on Sunday, it will be the perfect conditions for a history-making finale when the first champion will be crowned.
Sitting in the box seat for the title is Brisbane-based Paul Stokell, who holds a 35 point lead over John Ireland in second, while Targa Tasmania and Targa Great Barrier Reef winners Jason and John White occupy third.
Partnered alongside CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC) co-driver Malcolm Read, Stokell has remained calm ahead of what could be another title to his glowing collection.
“We are just focused on a consistent run and bringing home the Championship,” Stokell said.
“Our car is pretty much standard as it came out of the box last year and we haven’t done too much to it development wise.
“We are not in a position to challenge some of the more powerful cars, although we gave it a fair crack up in Cairns.”
“It’s an Australian Championship on the line and I’ve won a few of those over the years, so to have the opportunity to be even close at this stage of my life is pretty cool.”
In other classes, the Classic Outright title is already sealed by 1975 Holden Torana pilots Michael Bray and co-driver Daniel Bray, however the championship’s other categories are likely to go right down to the wire and be decided at the end of the weekend.
Behind the wheel of their 1985 E30 BMW 325i, Peter Gluskie and Samantha Winter hold a slim lead over Graham Copeland and Josh Herbert in the Shannons Classic Handicap.
Nathan and Nicholas Stokes are likely to claim the GT4 class after their closest rivals in Steve Glenney and Andy Sarandis, will not be attending due to next weekend’s ARC’s season finale on the Coffs Coast, the Kennards Hire Rally Australia.
In the Dutton Garage Early Modern class, only three points separate current leaders Joshua Sutcliffe and John Mitchell over Targa Great Barrier Reef class winners Liam and Larry Howarth.
The Thoroughbred Trophy is another class likely to be decided this weekend as Geoff Storr, Steve Caplice and their 1978 Alfa Romeo GTV hold a slight 19-point buffer over 1984 Audi quattro duo Jim and Alexander Kelly.
Darryl and Peter Marshall have one hand on the TSD Trophy as their closest rivals Peter and Tristan Taylor sit a further 21 points behind the 2002 Ford Pursuit Ute drivers, while Martin Duursma and Richard Wodhams have sealed the GT Sports Trophy class.
Published: 9 November, 2018