In near perfect conditions in front of thousands of spectators, the condensed one-day Make Smoking History Targa South West held yesterday (8th August 2020) in and around Pemberton and Northcliffe in Western Australia’s south west was hailed a success by competitors, officials and spectators alike.
Due to the coronavirus, organisers compacted the usual two-day rally into one challenging day for the event’s 11th edition.
Other than 3.21-kilometre Stage 11 Pump Hill 3 being cancelled to make up for some lost time, Targa 130 rookies in car 39 overshooting a corner and going for a spin before being wedged on a dirt bank (only to miss a couple of stages and finish the event), and car 68 waking up some spectators when they ran wide on a corner, the rally was run without incident.
Taking the win in the Competition Modern category was Peter Rullo and co-driver Jimmy Marquet in their upgraded Land Surveys / Autostrada 2019 Lotus Exige Targa GT Spec, winning five of the 14 stages and finishing 10 seconds ahead of Mark Cates and Declan Stafford in their Axis Hire 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Finishing third 1:02 minutes behind Cates / Stafford was Dennis Heller and Keian Guy in their 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.
Rullo, clearly elated with taking the win, said he loved getting back behind the wheel at the Make Smoking History Targa South West.
“It was awesome to be competing again, doing what we enjoy,” said Rullo of Gooseberry Hill.
“The rally was good right from the start, and truth be told, I had a happy-nervous feeling jumping into the car after a long break and nothing was coming naturally to start with.
“The car was quick straight off the mark and by the third stage, everyone was getting into the groove. Some of the stages where I thought our car would have had an advantage, it was really close.
“Unfortunately for Mark Greenham he had to withdraw, but that gave us some breathing room.
“The stages were good and the event was really fun. The one-day format is a great idea, good for everyone, spectators and officials.”
Winner of the last two years, Mark Greenham and co-driver Steph Esterbauer had been finishing stages in the top three and challenging Rullo for the lead up until SS10 when they suffered mechanical problems that ended their rally.
With Greenham out, Cates was hot on Rullo’s heels looking to take the lead but couldn’t quite get there.
Cates said that his new Axis Hire 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS was nothing short of perfect.
“We gave it a fair stab and I’m pretty happy with our results. Everything came together and I didn’t have any ‘moments’ the whole day,” said the Bunbury resident.
“It was a good field of competitors and the stages were fun, especially Gloucester which was fast and furious, and challenging us more than we expected. It was a wonderfully run event, a testament to the dedication to Ross, Jan, David and their team of officials – without them there would be no rallies in WA.”
Both Rullo and Cates are set to compete in Make Smoking History Targa West held in Perth, Whiteman Park, Ellenbrook, Kalamunda (including the infamous Zig Zag), Parkerville, Toodyay, Chittering and Bullsbrook and Malaga prior to the finalé at the City of Perth Special Stage from 22nd to 25th October 2020.
|Overall Competition Modern
Exige Targa GT
911 GT3 RS
Lancer Evo 9