Porsche Targa Newfoundland final summary

Porsches take four class wins as inaugural Targa Newfoundland comes to a close. All but one Porsche completes 2,213-kilometer endurance challenge. St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada - September 25 - As the first of what most of the "locals" hope...

Porsches take four class wins as inaugural Targa Newfoundland comes to a close.

All but one Porsche completes 2,213-kilometer endurance challenge.

St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada - September 25 - As the first of what most of the "locals" hope will be many Targa Newfoundlands came to a close this past weekend, five of the starting six entered Porsches crossed the finish line in small waterfront town of Bay Bulls, just south of St. John's. After 2,213 kilometers and five straight days of slow, medium and high-speed competition, only one Porsche failed to finish the event.

While not an outright speed event, the Targa Newfoundland placed a premium on driver skills as well as the navigational abilities of the co-driver."In some ways, it is very much like TDS (time, speed and distance) Rally, but with higher speed, Pro-style Rally stages mixed in," said Scott Giannu, driver of the 1976 Porsche Targa entered in the Targa and son of event organizer, Bob Giannu.

The original Targa Florio was run on the island of Sicily on public roads, seldom little more than a racecar wide, often along treacherous mountain roads and the scene of many an epic Porsche victory.

The first three days of the Newfoundland event seemed to going Porsche's way with the 1995 911 Turbo of Mark Saxby and Martin Rees from Australia, mixing it up with the rest of the top 5, and at times leading the event overall. But a broken valve spring retainer put an end to their chances.

With the Saxby/Rees retirement, the opportunity for an overall Porsche win ended, and the focus switched to class and category wins. Porsches took wins in four separate categories in both the Modern and Classic classes. Those taking home trophies represented a cross-section of Porsche history, with a 1976 911 Targa; a 1963 356 C; a 1965 911 and a 1990 944 S2 all copping top spots.

In addition to those "marque" wins, the 1938 Alfa Romeo of John and Andrew Lawson, which was designed by Ferdinand Porsche and is one of only three ever built, also won its category.

"Typical Porsche," said Andrew Lawson, having traveled all the way from Australia. "We own several historic Alfas. This one is the only one of the bunch that doesn't beat heck out of you when you drive it. It's not only fast but fairly comfortable, considering," he added.

The only Porsche in the Trials class, a 2002 911 Targa driven by Ronald Ahrens of Automobile Magazine and co-driven by David Menzies of the Canadian National Post, placed tenth.

"We learned as we went on," said Ahrens. "We really hadn't done anything like this before and we didn't expect to win on the TDS stuff. But towards the end we stopped trying to calculate arrival times and went for straight speed. We even scored the fastest time on one of the stages!"

To take that fastest time, Ahrens out-drove an ex-Archer Brothers Viper GTSR; a supercharged Mustang; a BMW M3 Coupe and a number of other fully race-prepped vehicles.

As for the event itself, there was nothing but praise. "For a first one, this was a fantastically well-run event," said Rick Bye, who managed the Ahrens/Menzies entry. "The first day was a little rough, but the rest of it went off without a hitch. Great job! And the people of Newfoundland are incredible!"

Bye's sentiments were almost unanimously echoed by all of the "from away," as they say in Newfoundland, participants.

"We'd enter a special stage and people would be lining the streets, standing on hills, sitting on the top of homes and businesses," related Ahrens. "When we crossed the finish line on one stage, people cheered and carried on like we HAD just won the Targa Florio. I felt like a rock star, for gosh sakes!"The first of what is hoped by the organizers to be a five-year commitment to the race was, by all accounts, a success. Additional information on the event can be obtained at www.targanewfoundland.com, the official event website.

<pre> Porsche Finishes - 2002 Targa Newfoundland

Car                     Driver/Co-driver        Finish/Class/Category   Driver/co-driver home country
1963 Porsche 356C       Buckingham/Fitzgerald   1st/Classic/3c          Australia/Australia
1965 Porsche 911        Buckingham/Richardson   1st/Classic/3d          Australia/Australia
1976 Porsche 911 Targa  Giannou/Winkler         1st/Classic/5b          Canada/Canada
1990 Porsche 944 S2     Seko/Morrow             1st/Classic/7b          Canada/Canada
2002 Porsche 911 Targa  Ahrens/Menzies          10th/Trials/10          USA/Canada
1995 Porsche 911 Turbo  Saxby/Rees              DNF/Modern/8c

Other Noteworthy Entries

1938 Alfa Romeo         Lawson/Lawson           1st/Historic/1b
                                                Mille Miglia Spyder     Australia/Australia


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