TEAM VIP PETFOODS ESCAPES POTENTIAL DISASTER TO RETAIN OUTRIGHT FIFTH
Team VIP Petfoods' Tony Quinn and Keith Wenn have skillfully steered their Porsche Turbo out of trouble to remain within reach of the Targa Tasmania winners' podium today, despite wet weather in the final two stages seeing them place out of the top ten for the first time this week.
Again demonstrating the true fighting spirit continuously witnessed over the past four days, the duo were able to triumph over adversity to remain within striking distance of the leaders with only one leg remaining.
Heavy rain in the South Rianna stage saw the pair finish an uncharacteristic 15th and 36 seconds behind the leaders, and although recovering to come within 12 seconds of the front runners in the final and still-wet Fern Glade stage, they again placed out of the top ten and these results looked set to threaten the pair's overall fifth standing.
However their consistency over the past four days ensured their impressive placing was not affected, and now the pair stare down the barrel of tomorrow's final nine stages still in the mix for the lead.
"We have been saying the weekend would see the real racing begin, and we were right!" said Quinn.
"Today was certainly interesting, we have had strong results up to this point and overall the day has gone to plan.
"We had a scare there at the end as we were unlucky enough to be one of the many who did not make it through before it started to bucket down.
"However luckily for us our results to date have meant we did not suffer too much in the overall standings and are still in it heading into tomorrow's final stages."
Although happy with how things have unfolded to the close of today's leg, Quinn and Wenn are hesitant in predicting great things for the final day - with last year's disappointment only too fresh in their minds.
"There is still a ways to go -- our car is heavier and even though it is still performing past our expecations, a crash on the final day of last years' event put paid to our then top five hopes, reminding us to be cautious heading into the final stages," said Quinn.
"Tomorrow's leg is basically a big run down the hill and it will be on for young and old - hopefully it stays dry for us as the wet weather just confuses it for everybody."
Tomorrow's West Coast Enduro will see the field travel 513.39 kilometres through Hellyer Gorge, Mount Black, Roseberry, Strahan, Queenstown, Mt Arrowsmith and Tarraleah as they chase front runners Sullens and Barkley, Richards and Oliver, Weeks and Allen and Longhurst and De Vere back down the island.
This years' Targa Tasmania is Quinn's eighth and the first in a long line of rally exploits to come for his team this year, with up to eight rally ventures on the cards including the prestigious Nurburgring 24 hour in which the team placed 9th on debut in 2006.