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Targa West Rally



From the navigators seat of Barry Oliver.

The 2012 edition of Quit Targa West was run from August 16 to August 19 with 80 cars lining up for the 29 stage event over 220 competitive kilometres.

It proved to be a very successful event for us with the Shannons Porsche GT2 RS coming home in first place by one minute from the husband and wife team of Jamie and Mandy Lister in an Evo 6 Mitsubishi Lancer.

There were four local R35 Nissan GTRs lining up as well as the Evo 9 Mitsubishi Lancer of Ben Searcy and James Marquet so Jim and I were expecting a tough battle and initially that proved to be the case.

After the first two short stages on day one we had a slender two second lead but on the second day we were able to extend that to 29 seconds.

The two runs over the very fast Kalamunda stage were challenging as there were two 60kph speed restriction zones and with a blanket 200 kph maximum speed limit for the event I spent a lot of time monitoring the rallysafe satellite unit to make sure we didnít get penalised.

Over the course of the event a number of competitors exceeded the 200 kph limit including two of our main opposition with one of them transgressing three times and getting five minutes in penalties and the other one a two minute penalty.

On the third day we were consistently in the top three on the stages except for the first run through the 8 kilometre Bullsbrook short stage and the 12 kilometre Bullsbrook long stage which were very technical and didnít really suit our twin turbo two wheel drive car.

It was also obvious that we needed to do more recce runs so that we were more familiar with the course.

On the second run we made a significant improvement on both stages despite the sun being a real problem and reducing visibility to zero a number of times..

We started the final day with a 44 second lead but with six stages to run including three runs over the new 12 kilometre Malaga stage in an industrial estate there was no time to be relaxing.

The stage consisted of 66 left and right turns separated by short straights and some chicanes and it was probably one of the busiest stages we had ever contested in 20 years of tarmac rally competition.

Our first run was ok but not that fast and we were hoping the subsequent runs would be quicker.

Unfortunately the second run was slower as we got confused with the notes and dropped a lot of time but fortunately the Listerís were no quicker than us and it was status quo.

The third run was a major improvement which we were very happy with and all that remained was the three runs over the City of Perth stage at Langley Park.

There were thousands of spectators watching the runs and it was a great way to finish what had been a very well run event.

This was the 60th tarmac rally that Jim and I have contested and our 21st win in 40 podium results so it was nice to be able to spray the champagne.

Our next rally will be the Targa High Country event in Victoria in November but in the meantime Jim will be lining up in the Shannons Javelin for the next round of the Touring Car Masters championship at Sydney Motorsport Park on the first and second of September.

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