DISAPPOINTING END AFTER A GREAT START FOR RICHARDS/OLIVER AND THE SHANNONS PORSCHE CAYMAN S IN TARGA TASMANIA.
15 MAY 2014
For only the second time in 22 years of Targa Tasmania competition Jim Richards and Barry Oliver were forced out of the 2014 event after an incident on the fourth day damaged the radiator leaving the eight time outright winners stranded.
“We had caught a slower car on the Riana stage in very wet conditions and I was caught out by the spray as we came up to a right hand curve and misjudged the speed by a fraction. As we turned in the car ran slightly wide onto a flat grassed area and unfortunately there was a farm fence quite close to the road”. said a disappointed Richards. .
The initial reaction from both Richards and Oliver was that they had got away with it but unfortunately there was a four inch treated timber fence post at that very point and the Cayman made contact on the left hand front corner at very low speed.
“The radiators are mounted down low in the front corners and unfortunately the contact was enough to bust the radiator and put us out”. said Richards.
Up to that point ,having covered 28 competitive stages ,the new Cayman S had performed beyond the teams expectations and Richards was full of praise for the new car.
“I was stunned by the performance of the car particularly the handling and there is no question in my mind this is the best car we have competed in during 22 years competition covering a total of 66 tarmac rallies”. said Richards.
At the time of the incident the team had an eleven and a half minute lead in the Showroom Sports class over an Audi TTRS having won every stage and remarkably were seventh overall in the outright competition.
Two of the leading cars subsequently failed to finish due to crashes highlighting the high attrition rate and demonstrating how difficult it is to get to the finish.
The Shannons team went into the event believing that a class win and a top ten overall would be a great result and not to finish was particularly disappointing.
Apart from a change of springs and shock absorbers ,to accommodate the sometimes bumpy roads ,the car was completely stock standard including the brakes and the exhaust system.
“It only had 330 horsepower compared to last year’s Porsche GT2 RS at 630 horsepower but it was much nicer to drive and I was amazed at how much more corner speed we could carry”. said Richards
Apart from the power the major difference was that the Cayman S has a mid engine layout in contrast to the GT2 RS ,which like all 911 models ,has the engine behind the rear axle line.
That makes a huge difference to the balance of the car and it’s little wonder the car has won rave reviews from the motoring journalists.
The car was consistently in the top ten overall positions on the stages against four wheel drive turbocharged cars ,some of which were heavily modified ,so the performance augers well for the future.
As an aside, being stranded on the side of the road becomes an even bigger issue when you don’t have a service crew and organising for Jim’s trailer to be bought down from Launceston meant numerous phone calls to Oliver’s son David to make the arrangements and provide directions to the farm where they were kindly being looked after.
“Our wives were waiting for us in Strahan so we had to notify them and arrange for them to drive the 160 kilometres ,by a convoluted route ,to meet up with us”. said Oliver.
The next tarmac rally for Richards/Oliver and the Cayman S will be Targa West in August.
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