The outright podium at this year’s Quit Targa South West tarmac rally was been clinched by 2016 Quit Targa Cup winners Will White and Matt Thompson, finishing the event in their Store Local Mitsubishi Evo 9 with a lead of just under a minute.
White and Thompson set the pace early on by clocking the fastest time on 13 of the 14 stages held in and around Pemberton and Manjimup on Saturday, and keeping Targa veterans Brendan Templeman and Peter Howlett (Car 96) at bay.
Sunday’s shorter and tighter Pemberton stages were also kind to the winning duo, who crossed the final finish line winning all but 2 of the day’s 7 stages.
White’s co-driver of six years Matt Thompson said that preparation was the key to their success this year.
“Nothing is as easy as it looks when it comes to rally,” Thompson said.
“It was a case of making sure everything comes together on the day, and getting through without the breakages that we had last year. We came very prepared this year.
“The most memorable moment of this year’s event was getting a nice clean run through the Gloucester stages and seeing all the people enjoying themselves that had turned out to watch on top of the bridge.
The team will now be turning their focus to next month’s Bunbury Sprint and then Targa West.
White and Thompson were under the care of the GTi Racing service crew, who had a very successful weekend with three out of their four teams securing a podium place. Classic Competition outright winners Simon Gunson and Murray Armenti (Car 16) were thankful to the GTi crew for their support over the weekend.
“We had a mechanical issue with the exhaust falling off but nothing major,” Gunson said.
“We relied on the service crew a bit to get us through, but apart from that our event was alright.
“We just get on well Murray and me as navigator and driver. The weather stayed away on Saturday which was quite fortunate. The mornings and evenings were quite wet but the rally itself was quite dry – a lot better than last year.
“It was a great result for the team overall with Will and Matt winning Modern Competition, us winning Classic Competition, Sharon and Glenys taking second in the Challenge category and Dennis and Keian finishing the event despite some mechanical issues.”
Despite clinching five stage wins in their Datsun 240z on the Sunday, Bruce Lake and Peter Hall had to settle for second, ending the event 1 minute 43 seconds behind Gunson and Armenti’s GTI Performance Ford Capri Perana.
First time Targa South West competitors Nick Bailey and Kyle O’Neil (Car 33c) were surprised when they managed to keep their VW GTi Golf 13 seconds ahead of regulars Sharon Gunson and Glenys Stagoll (66c) in a MTA supported Mitsubishi Evo 7 to win the Challenge category.
“We didn’t expect to actually be in the real shiny end of the outright of Challenge class,” Bailey said.
“That was a bit of a bonus.
“We had a couple of hairy moments where we put the car into a ditch at the last turn of the Gloucester stage, but were able to motor out of it. We managed to keep it tight and on the good stuff the whole time.
“We’ll be back for next year. We’d like to do Targa West, and just weighing up costs at the moment.”
The next event in the WA Targa Cup calendar will be GT Fabrication Targa Bunbury Sprint held across 24-25 June.
Competitors will also be preparing for the popular four day Quit Targa West held in Perth on 10-13 August.
More information on the Quit Targa West can be found on www.targawest.com.au
Organisers would like to thank Targa South West sponsors Healthway, along with the Quit message, Shannons, Cutts Transport, Manjimup Truffles, AAAC Towing and the Shire of Manjimup for their support along with series sponsors Go Gear and Perth Motorsport Tyres.
For video highlight packages from the weekend please see Targa West Events facebook page www.facebook.com/targawest.
Image credit: Tim Allott