LAMBO CARNAGE AT TARGA AS RICHARDS TAKES THE CHARGE Jim Richards has taken the lead on Day Two of the 15th Anniversary Targa Tasmania rally, while the two Lamborghini Gallardos made famous at last year's event by Paul Stokell and pro-golfer...
LAMBO CARNAGE AT TARGA AS RICHARDS TAKES THE CHARGE
Jim Richards has taken the lead on Day Two of the 15th Anniversary Targa Tasmania rally, while the two Lamborghini Gallardos made famous at last year's event by Paul Stokell and pro-golfer Stuart Appleby were today struck with a bout of bad luck, an engine fire forcing one to withdraw from the event at the hand of its new owner.
After contesting nine competition stages over 73.89km of Tasmania's challenging North Eastern coastal roads, 58-year-old Richards and navigator Barry Oliver clocked consistently fast stage times in their 2003 Porsche 911 GT2 CS, which saw them gradually pull away from co-leader, South Australian Steve Glenney in his 2002 Subaru WRX, and secure a 15-second lead in the drivetravel.com Modern Competition.
"Our car's gone great, but the other guys are going well too," said the ultimate 'Gentleman', Jim Richards. "We're going as hard as we can but tomorrow will probably suit the smaller cars, but I think we'll do alright, hopefully."
Disappointment was had by the new owner of the ex-Appleby Targa 2005 Lamborghini when its engine caught fire on a transport stage, 4km shy of today's Bicheno lunch break. South Australian Kevin Weeks and his navigator Rebecca Crunkhorn escaped injury as a convoying service crew extinguished the flaming Lamborghini.
"The engine fire burnt everything under the bonnet, right down to the wiring. It's incredibly disappointing, but that's motor racing and we play the game," said Weeks.
"We are very fortunate that we still have a car and that it happened almost in Bicheno so we had water nearby. If not, the car would have burnt down to the ground."
Tasmanian Jason White's title defence is now in jeopardy due to clutch problems on his Gallardo that was purchased by his navigator and Uncle John White. The 2005 Targa champ was forced to contest the 7.70km long, third last stage in fifth gear.
"Our clutch is completely knackered," said White. "We've had a fear that this might happen from the first day, but we've just persevered with it and it has cost us a bit of time today. We can put another one in exactly the same but we've always known that was the car's weak link, so there's no guarantee the new one is going to be any better."
White finished today's second day of competition in eighth position, a significant 1-minute 34-seconds behind Richards. Overnight work on the Italian beast will decide the Tasmanian team's fate.
29-year-old Steve Glenney was happy to continue to shadow Richards' and is confident that he can better his position tomorrow.
"We're looking forward to tomorrow because there are no hills and those big hills today killed us, we'll just keep plugging away and hopefully not let them get too far in front, and maybe get a bit of rain."
Queensland driver Ray Vandersee today jumped to third in his Queensland-built 2004 Skelta G-Force, finishing 41-seconds behind Glenney and his navigator Bernie Webb.
"I am very pleased to be in third place," said Vandersee. "Today's stages suited us more and we had a ball. I am pretty confident that I can stay on the pace tomorrow as day three is traditionally a bit bumpier and the Skelta has great suspension."
Adding to today's dramas was factory Mitsubishi driver Warwick Rooklyn. Due to a team tactical error, Rooklyn and his navigator Linda Long missed entry into the day's third stage, the 6.33km Winnaleah stage. An unrecorded time placing him at the bottom of today's results pole which has unofficially dropped him from contention.
"We were at the back of the crew and under the pump, with fuel and couple of little service things the sweep car passed us and we just missed them going into the stage," said Rooklyn.
The New South Wales driver is currently applying to Event Organisers to have a derived time applied to his result. Despite the set-back, Rooklyn and his navigator Linda Long remained competitive proving him worthy of a podium finish obtaining top-five times on the stages following the lunch break.
Finishing only 7-seconds behind Vandersee and his navigator Jahmeil Taylor, in fourth position, is another Subaru favourite West Australian Dean Herridge who also packed some pace right throughout today, proving that the 15th Anniversary Targa Tasmania is anyone's game.
Finishing fifth behind Herridge is the event's crowd-pleaser Peter Brock, who with the help of his navigator Mick Hone, finished the day's stages 16-seconds further afield.
"The day has worked out pretty well," said Brock. "We have to watch a few little things like tyre wear, but we're doing pretty well."
Network Ten motor sport commentator Daryl Beattie is putting his on-road abilities mastered during his days as a 500cc motorcycle World Championship frontrunner to use, by moving up the field seven places and finishing 15th, 3-minutes 18-seconds behind today's leader.
"We did struggle a bit keeping the car with a good momentum going through the fast stages, but on the whole the day was pretty good," appraised Beattie.
Another Subaru seemed to be making its way nicely through the field today, this one driven by circuit master Tony Longhurst, of V8 Supercar fame. Longhurst finished today's leg in tenth position, 1-minute 57-seconds from the top spot.
New South Wales Porsche driver Bill Pye has resumed the top-spot in the Shannons Classic Competition today from Jensen CV8 driver Peter Ullrich, of New South Wales. Ullrich currently sits 61-seconds behind the leading 1976 Porsche 911 Carrera 3. Rounding out the top three in the Classic Competition is Peter Eames of Victoria, also in a Porsche, who is currently placed 9-seconds behind Ullrich.
Tomorrow will bring Leg Three of the annual Targa Tasmania tarmac rally, the Bruny D'Entrecasteaux Southern Loop. Cars will start from the Official Hobart City Start in Salamanca Place and travel south of Hobart through the picturesque Huon Valley, covering 59.40km consisting of eight competitive stages - finishing back in the state's capital.
Leg Three begins with the 3.24km Bonnet Hill stage, situated just outside of Hobart, with the cars gradually making their way into the Huon Valley municipality via the tight and twisting Oyster Cove (12.02km), Woodbridge Reverse (6.60km) and Flowerpot Reverse (4.40km) stages. Cars will stop for a break at the Cygnet Sports Oval and then contest a final three stages (totalling 25.73km) on their way back into Hobart.
<pre> TARGA TASMANIA LEG TWO PROGRESSIVE SCORES (END OF DAY TWO, OF FIVE)
Pos No Crew Vehicle Margin from leader 1. 919 Jim Richards VIC - Barry Oliver TAS 2003 Porsche 911 GT2 CS 2. 988 Steve Glenney SA - Bernie Webb ACT 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX Sti 00.15 3. 972 Ray Vandersee QLD - Jahmeil Taylor SA 2004 Skelta G-Force 00.56 4. 978 Dean Herridge WA - Bill Hayes WA 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX Spec C 01.03 5. 974 Peter Brock Vic - Mick Hone Vic 2001 Daytona Coupe 01.19 6. 945 Greg Garwood Tas - John Allen QLD 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo 01.27 7. 996 Tony Quinn QLD - Keith Wenn Tas 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo 01.31 8. 934 John White Tas - Jason White Tas 2006 Lamborghini Gallardo 01.34 9. 950 Russell Kempnich QLD - Peter Burrey NSW 2004 Porsche GT3 01.52 10. 922 Tony Longhurst NSW - Michael DeVere QLD 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX Sti 01.57
Other competitors of interest: 15. 935 Daryl Beattie QLD - Scott Young NSW 2006 Mitsubishi Evo Lancer IX 03.18
Shannons Classic Competition
Pos No. Crew Vehicle Margin from leader 1. 531 William Pye, NSW - Grant Geelan, NSW 1976 Porsche 911 Carrera 3 2. 383 Peter Ullrich, NSW - Sari Ullrich, NSW 1963 Jensen CV8 1:01 3. 573 Peter Eames, VIC - Rebecca Eames, VIC 1976 Porsche 911 Carrera 1:10 4. 625 Ian Morris, VIC - Alex Molocznyk, QLD 1981 Alfa Romeo GTV6 1:16 5. 551 Greg Cook, VIC - Tracey Williams, VIC 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 1:22
To view results for all competitions in Targa Tasmania <results.targa.org.au>