RICHARDS AND OLIVER FINISH THIRD IN TARGA HIGH COUNTRY
14 NOVEMBER 2012
After missing the opening round of the Australian Targa Championship in Adelaide due to other commitments the Shannon's team of Jim Richards and Barry Oliver have scored some good points by finishing third in the Modern competition in last weekend's Targa High Country in their Shannon's Porsche GT2 RS.
On the Friday afternoon there was a prologue run through the streets of Mansfield to determine the starting order for the competition stages with the slowest to go first and the fastest to go last.
Day one of competition consisted of eight stages between Mount Buller and Whitfield over a competitive distance of 90 kilometres on roads that were very fast and flowing.
The roads certainly suited the Porsche which was consistently in the top four on each stage and at the end of the final stage ,which was an 18 kilometre run up Mount Buller ,the team were comfortably in 4th place.
Not surprisingly the Lamborghini team of Jason and John White ,who are the defending champions ,led the event by 15 seconds to Tony Quinn and Naomi Tillett in the Nissan GTR R35 with a 5 second gap back to Matt and Casey Close in their Audi TT RS and a further 35 seconds back to the Richards/Oliver Porsche.
Day two was a much bigger challenge with eight stages from Mount Buller to Eildon and return over a competitive distance of 130 kilometres including two stages over 30 kilometres long.
The roads were much tighter and more technical which suited the four wheel drive cars better and it was a question of whether the Porsche team could maintain their position.
Having said that there was one section of road on the long stages where the Porsche recorded 260 kph.
On the second stage of the day the Lamborghini challenge was over with front differential failure putting the round one winner's out of the event and leaving the battle for outright honours to Quinn/Tillett and the Closes.
Quinn/Tillett were in fine form and extended the gap on each stage of the day to win the event by 56 seconds with the Closes second one minute and three seconds in front of Richards/Oliver.
Richards was extremely happy with the result bearing in mind the calibre of the competition and the testing nature of the day two stages which suited the four wheel drive cars better.
"When I looked at our times over the course of the event we were very competitive on many of the stages and with reliability on our side further podiums in the remaining two rounds are not out of the question". said the eight time Targa Tasmania winner.
"The Shannon's Porsche is completely standard apart from heavier springs and it performed faultlessly over the event. The only thing we did all weekend was clean the windscreen and top up the fuel". said Richards.
For the first time the car ran on Dunlop tyres and Richards was very impressed with their performance.
"The grip level was very good and they were consistent even on the two long stages which had an extremely abrasive surface with constant tight second and third gear corners". said Richards.
The next round of the championship is Targa Wrest Point which is on the weekend of February 2 and 3 with Targa Tasmania as the final round in April.
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