Images: RallyWA Events/TIM ALLOTT
Close competition to the finish
LAUREN CORNES reports:
LOCAL MOTORSPORT FANS, young and old, turned out en masse at Bunbury’s Halifax light industrial area to cheer on the 90 tarmac rally vehicles competing in the weekend’s GT Fabrication Targa Bunbury Sprint.
In the first half of the event, former West Coast Eagle Troy Wilson and co-driver Willie Thompson proved fastest in the early stages around the 4km course, until their luck ran out. Their Mitsubishi Evo X developed mechanical issues and forced their withdrawal.
It was then a battle between Matt O’Neill and Mandy Lister (above) in a Subaru WRX STI, and Quit Targa Cup frontrunners Will White and Matthew Thompson (below) in the Store Local Mitsubishi Evo IX.
Both teams ran consistently, and on most stages there was less than a second between their times. However, White says he wasn’t paying his usual level of attention to the leader board, and that may have been a factor that cost him the podium.
O’Neill and Lister completed all eight stages in 20:23.38 to win outright and secure a class win. It was the first event for O’Neill after a two-year break from motorsport.
“I haven’t driven competitively since Targa West 2015,” O’Neill said. “Considering the field, and being a bit rusty, I was aiming for the Top 10. But to win it exceeded my expectations and was a nice surprise. The course was really good. There was a bit of everything for everyone in there – with tight twisty parts and wide open fast parts. The way it was structured gave competitors a chance to spectate and mingle with the crowd in between runs.”
White and Thompson finished in 20:25.91, earning them second outright, a class win, and more valuable Quit Targa Cup points. Third outright went to experienced Targa competitors Peter Rullo and co-driver Jimmy Marquet in their Nissan R35 GTR (pictured at top) with a time of 20:44.54, which also awarded them a class win.
Quit Targa Cup series competitors now turn their attention to the Shannons Targa Mid-Year Sprint at the Kwinana Motorplex on July 16. The event is a warm-up for many competitors, as they head into the final round of the series, the Quit Targa West on August 10 – 13.
GT Fabrication Targa Bunbury Sprint class winners
Class 1 Targa Cup 2WD < 2000cc Car #59 Andrew Carrick/Alex Carrick.
Class 2 Targa Cup 2WD > 2000cc Car #10 Simon Gunson/Murray Armenti.
Class 3 Targa Cup 4WD < 3500cc Car #3 Will White/Matthew Thompson,
Class 4 Targa Cup 4WD > 3500cc Car #5 Peter Rullo/Jimmy Marquet.
Class 5 Targa Cup 2WD/4WD Gravel Car #82 Mitchell Clarke/Stuart Clarke.
Class 6 Open Rally Sprint 2WD < 2000cc Car #36 Jared Bevan/Ty Summers.
Class 7 Open Rally Sprint 2WD > 2000cc Car #31 Mark Cates/Todd Haffner.
Class 8 Open Rally Sprint 4WD Car #7 Matt O’Neil/Mandy Lister.