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Richards and Oliver Win Again In the West

Written by Lee McKenzie McKinnon on . Posted in Motor Sport, News

The most successful tarmac rally combination in Australia, Jim Richards and Barry Oliver, were back on the podium to claim their second Quit Targa West victory in Perth last week. The Porsche GT2 pair finished with a minute in hand after dominating the event and their Competition-Modern category over four days, 29 stages and 212 kilometres of competition on closed public roads around the West Australian capital. Including their first win in the west in 2007, Richards and his Oliver have now taken 21victories in 20 seasons of tarmac rallying. “We haven’t had a win for a while, so it’s good to get one here. We went as fast as we could go and if other cars won stages too I’m sure (it was because) they were trying hard to beat us,” he said. “The car was great. We didn’t even open the bonnet or changes the tyres.” Quit Targa West finished with its regular sprint beside the Swan River, but the highlight of the final day was the new Complete Portables Malaga 12 km street stage around a light industrial estate. The route was packed with thousands of spectators, many of them employees and guests of businesses that opened their premises for parties. “The atmosphere was just electric. There wasn’t a street without someone watching from behind the barriers,” Event director Bob Schrader said. “It took eight or nine months to get this stage in place with the cooperation of everyone in the City of Swan from the CEO and the local ward councillor down. It was a huge undertaking and it worked extremely well.” Richards stroked his Porsche through Malaga out of the stage placing’s while his rivals piled on last-minute pressure. Ben Searcy and James Marquet won the first two stages, but their strong run throughout the rally ended in heartbreak when their Mitsubishi’s engine failed on the third Malaga pass, barely 10 kms from the event finish. Jamie and Mandy Lister, also Mitsubishi-mounted, were then able to consolidate their second place and lead home the Nissan GT-R of Franz Esterbauer and Ivan Tan by 34 sec. Tolley Challis and Greg Flood claimed their second straight win in the Competition-Classic category for their 1974 Porsche 911 RS. Main rivals Paul Moltoni/Ian de Boer pushed hard on the final day. They won the last four stages of the event, but Challis already had 19 stage wins to his credit and could not be beaten. “You never do it easy. Paul drove very well this weekend,” Challis said. “The pace was pretty hectic early in the event, but the Friday stages suited us better so we pushed hard and put our head down again on Saturday to build the gap further. I’ve been rallying for 30 years and I guess I know how fast I can go.” In contrast to Challis, the winners of the speed-restricted Challenge-Modern category overcame a complete lack of rally experience. “I’d never done a tarmac rally before or owned a race car before,” said driver Brett Wilkinson, who shared the win with Matthew Edgar. “I bought the car (Mitsubishi Lancer) two-and-a-half weeks ago and said ‘let’s do it’.   “We threw on a few suspension bits and here we are. I was a State champion but hadn’t driven a race car for five years. “Malaga was where we shone. I drove a lot harder because I could see the kerbs and corners and felt less daunted than I had in the open-road stages.” Father and son team Bruce and Max Lake won Challenge-Classic for the second year in their 1973 Datsun 240Z. “This was our second Targa West and our second win – we’re slowly learning,” Bruce Lake said. “The competition was a lot closer. We had to drive a lot harder to get where we did.” The Lakes won by 44 seconds from the Porsche pairing of Robert Buys and Sanja Aksamija, who had earned a time penalty yesterday for exceeding the 130 km/h category limit.   RESULTS (Day Four, after 29 stages – Final) Competition-Modern 1 RICHARDS/OLIVE (Porsche GT2 RS) 1 hr46min49sec 2 LISTER/LISTER (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) 01:47:49 3 ESTERBAUER/TAN (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10) 01:48:23 Competition-Classic 1 CHALLIS/FLOOD (Porsche 911 RS) 01:49:15 2 MOLTONI/de BOER (Porsche 911 RS) 01:50:28 3 MOIR/MOIR (Datsun 240Z) 01:53:50 Challenge-Modern 1 WILKINSON/EDGAR (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) 02:00:21 2 VLAD/VLAD (Ford Fiesta ST) 02:01:01 3 PAYNE/LUNSMANN (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) 02:02:14 Challenge-Classic 1 LAKE/LAKE (Datsun 240Z) 02:04:33 2 BUYS/AKSAMIJA (Porsche 911) 02:05:14 3 THOMPSON/THOMPSON (Porsche 911 RS) 02:06:00

Richards in Control

Written by Lee McKenzie McKinnon on . Posted in Motor Sport, News

Jim Richards appears headed for victory in the Quit Targa West tarmac rally after dominating the third day staged in the Perth region. With a 54 second lead, the 2007 Targa West winner and co-driver Barry Oliver have only to complete six stages without incident on the final day tomorrow to secure their win. They have led since the event started on Thursday. Although they won only two stages of the 13 run today in the Toodyay and Bullsbrook areas – one scheduled stage, Bullsbrook Short 1, was cancelled – consistent driving saw their margin increase from 29 sec. overnight. The big performers in the Competition-Modern category were Ben Searcy/James Marquet, Franz Esterbauer/Ivan Tan, Jamie and Mandy Lister – all in Mitsubishi Lancer Evos – and Jon-Paul Loenhout/Lisa White in a Nissan GT-R. Searcy held second outright for most of the morning before being overtaken by Lister and then Esterbauer, who were second and third tonight. Peter Rullo and Simon Iseppi took the most stage wins – seven – but were not in outright contention after losing time yesterday with gearbox failure. They retired again on the final stage today with further mechanical problems in their Nissan GT-R coupe. Tolley Challis/Greg Flood cruised through the day with 11 wins in Competition-Classic, conceding only one stage each to fellow Porsche crew Paul Moltoni/Ian de Boer and Paul Crute/Paul Gusterson in a Ford Mustang. Moltoni was Challis’s most persisent challenger, but finished 86 sec. behind. Another strong crew, Simon Gunson/Jurgen Lunsman, retired their spectacular Ford Capri Perana with mechanical problems three stages from home after scoring a string of second and third stage placings. Razvan and Ioana Vlad, giant-killers again in their little Ford Fiesta hatchback, shared wins with Keith and Russell Hawley, Brett Wilkinson/Matthew Edgar and Daryl Sosa/Stirling Hamersley – all in more powerful all-wheel drive Mitsubishi Lancers – but retained their overall lead in the speed-restricted Challenge-Modern category. In Challenge-Classic, Robert Buys/Sanja Aksamija finally lost the lead they had held since Thursday, finishing today 85 sec. behind new leaders Bruce and Max Lake. Paul and Mitchell Thompson were in third place, all three crews in Porsches. Seventy-four cars started Saturday’s competition and 63 finished. Most retirements were caused by mechanical problems, but David Heaton/David Bobowski exited in spectacular fashion by rolling their Mitsubishi Lancer after the finish line on the Coondle Highlands 1 stage. They were not hurt. RESULTS (Day Three, after 23 stages. Provisional) Competition-Modern 1 RICHARDS/OLIVER (Porsche GT2 RS) 01:17:44 2 LISTER/LISTER (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) 01:18:38 3 ESTERBAUER/TAN (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10) 01:19:22 Competition-Classic 1 CHALLIS/FLOOD (Porsche 911 RS) 01:19:33 2 MOLTONI/de BOER (Porsche 911 RS) 01:20:59 3 MOIR/MOIR (Datsun 240Z) 01:23:15 Challenge-Modern 1 VLAD/VLAD (Ford Fiesta ST) 01:29:20 2 WILKINSON/EDGAR (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) 01:29:47 3 PAYNE/LUNSMANN (Mistsubishi Lancer Evo 7) 01:31:06 Challenge-Classic 1 LAKE/LAKE (Datsun 240Z) 01:32:37 2 BUYS/AKSAMIJA    (Porsche 911) 01:34:02 3 THOMPSON/THOMPSON (Porsche 911 RS) 01:34:16  

Richards Leads After Hard-Fought Second Day

Written by Lee McKenzie McKinnon on . Posted in Motor Sport, News

Tarmac rally ace Jim Richards stormed to a 29-second lead in Quit Targa West after dominating day two in Western Australia. Richards and co-driver Barry Oliver, together winners of the 2007 Quit Targa West and seven Targa Tasmania events, took three of the day’s eight stage tests over 59 kilometres in the Kalamunda Shire. Behind the duo’s 630-horsepower Porsche GT2 RS in the Competition-Modern category were two local Mitsubishi Lancer Evos. Jamie and Mandy Lister were 11 seconds ahead of third-placed Ben Searcy and James Marquet. Richards lost one of his main rivals when Peter Rullo and Simon Iseppi were forced to retire their Nissan GT-R with gearbox failure after stage five. It was a blow for Rullo, whose run at victory last year was stopped by a similar problem. “It’s disappointing, but these things happen. We’ll put in a new gearbox and rejoin the rally tomorrow, but any chance of winning is gone,” he said. With six of the day’s stages ranging in length between just 2.79 kms and 6.42 kms, there was no margin for error and close and even tied times among the leaders resulted in see-sawing battles in every category. Tolley Challis and Greg Flood finished first in Competition-Challenge in their 1974 Porsche, at times defending a gap of just four seconds before ending the day 21 sec. ahead of Simon Gunson/Jurgen Lunsman (Ford Capri Perana). David and Vicki Moir (Datsun 240Z) were third. ”We had a bit of a problem in Kalamunda 1 (stage 6), but the rest of the time we were going as hard as we could,” said Challis, the defending category winner. “The car’s good and tomorrow we’ll just push on and try to stay in front.” No crew fought harder than Robert Buys and Sanja Aksamija in the 130 kmh-limited Challenge-Classic category. After leading overnight, twice today the Porsche pair’s margin was cut to one second but they eked out six stage wins to finish 1 min. 35 sec. ahead of Paul and Mitchell Thompson in another Porsche, from Martin and Sharon Eyer in a Triumph TR8. Australian two-wheel drive rally champion Razvan Vlad, co-driven by Loana Vlad, led the Challenge-Modern field from the second stage of the day. It was a giant-killing performance, their little Ford Fiesta hatchback more often than not beating a Chev Corvette and several Mitsubishi Lancer Evos. The rally field turned out for a public display at Northbridge in Perth, attracting a large crowd to meet the crews and view the cars. Quit Targa West continues with Shannons Leg 2, comprising 14 mostly short stages around Toodyay and Bullsbrook. The finish will be in Perth on Sunday afternoon. RESULTS (Day Two, after 10 stages total | Provisional) Competition-Modern 1 RICHARDS/OLIVER (Porsche GT2 RS) 35 min. 13 sec. 2 LISTER/LISTER (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) 35:42 3 SEARCY/MARQUET (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 35:53 Competition-Classic 1 CHALLIS/FLOOD (Porsche 911 RS) 36:11 2 GUNSON/LUNSMANN (Ford Capri Perana Replica) 36:32 3 MOIR/MOIR (Datsun 240Z) 37:28 Challenge-Modern 1 VLAD/VLAD (Ford Fiesta ST) 39:37 2 WILKINSON/EDGAR (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) 40:22 =3 HAWLEY/HAWLEY (Chevrolet Corvette Z06) 41:03 =3 PAYNE/LUNSMANN (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) 41:03 Challenge-Classic 1 BUYS/AKSAMIJA (Porsche 911) 41:11 2 THOMPSON/THOMPSON (Porsche 911 RS) 42:46 3 EYER/EYER (Triumph TR8 RS) 44:01  

Richards Takes Early Lead

Written by Lee McKenzie McKinnon on . Posted in Motor Sport, News

Porsche driver Jim Richards leads the 2012 Quit Targa West tarmac rally after the first two competitive stages in Perth on Thursday. The 2007 Targa West champion, with co-driver Barry Oliver, won both 3.78 km sprints around the Whiteman Park nature reserve in their Porsche GT2 RS to take a two-second lead in the outright Competition-Modern category over local entrants Jamie Lister in a Mitsubishi Lancer and Peter Rullo in a Nissan GT-R. Veteran Tolley Challis leads the Competition-Classic category after a win and a second stage placing in his 1974 Porsche 911 RS. Seventy-nine cars started the eighth annual rally, which will run till Sunday. Drivers in Classic and Modern cars will cover 215 kilometres of competition over 30 closed-road special stages. Early on Thursday, crews took part in a Prologue contest over the Whiteman Park course. The run was designed to bed-in both cars and drivers before the start of serious competition, but the occasion got the better of several drivers who left the road – with no serious consequences. The highly-experienced Richards made a measured start. “On our first run in the Prologue, the tyres and brakes needed to be scrubbed in, so Jim took it a bit cautiously,” co-driver Oliver said. “We were faster the second time and followed up with good times on the first two stages. “We’re two seconds up after the first day and we’re very happy with that.” Today’s eight stages are in the Kalamunda Shire. Targa’s traditional Show ‘n’ Shine display will be staged from 6 pm tonight on James and Lake Streets, Northbridge. RESULTS (Day One, after two stages) Competition-Modern: 1 RICHARDS/OLIVER (Porsche GT2 RS) 04 min. 23 sec. =2 LISTER/LISTER (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) 04:25 =2 RULLO/ISEPPI (Nissan GT-R) Competition-Classic: 1 CHALLIS/FLOOD (Porsche 911 RS) 04:30 2 MOLTONI/de BOER (Porsche 911 RS) 04:31 3 GUNSON/LUNSMAN (Ford Capri Perana Replica) 04:33 Challenge-Modern: 1 WILKINSON/EDGAR (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) 04:44 2 SOSA/HAMERSLEY (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10) 04:49 3 PAYNE/LUNSMANN (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) 04:50 Challenge-Classic: 1 LAKE/LAKE (Datsun 240Z) 04:56 2 BUYS/AKSAMIJA (Porsche 911) 04:59 3 EYER/EYER (Triumph TR8 RS) 05:36

Richards vs the Rest in the West

Written by Lee McKenzie McKinnon on . Posted in News

It will be Jim Richards versus the rest in an East-West contest for the 2012 Quit Targa West rally starting Perth on Thursday. Richards, the 2007 winner in Western Australia and seven-time Targa Tasmania champion, is returning with long-time navigator Barry Oliver in their Porsche GT2 RS as the leading East Coast contender for the eighth annual event. But his quest to lift the trophy after 215 kilometres of competition on Sunday will be met by a strong local line-up in the Modern Competition category, including Nissan GT-R35 drivers Peter Rullo and Jean-Paul Van Loenhout. A total of 79 cars will start Quit Targa West in Competition and speed-restricted Challenge categories for Modern and Classic cars. It will be a fast-paced event allowing few mistakes. The popular Go Gear Prologue to decide starting order at 1.15pm on Thursday at the city’s Whiteman Park will be followed just two hours later by the first of 30 special stages on closed public roads, ranging in length from just 2.79 kilometres to 15.06kms. Richards, who will arrive from his Victorian team base on Monday, says he likes the rally format. “I’d rather do six eight-kilometre stages than one 80km stage. It makes it more interesting because the gap between cars is always less,” he said. “What I like about it is that you do some of the stages two or three times, so you have the chance to improve as the rally progresses. “But you never can tell (what will happen), so we’ll come over and give it a shot and see what happens.” Richards and Launceston-based Oliver have competed in dozens of rallies together since 1993 with more success than virtually any other crew in the country, so to beat them to victory would be a huge achievement for businessman Peter Rullo and navigator Simon Iseppi. The Ascot motor dealer is keener than ever. Gearbox problems in the Nissan all-wheel drive supercar put him out on the final day last year while in second place. But he believes he has the pace to match Richards’ lighter, rear-drive Porsche. “We’ve done very similar times in the past three or four rallies. It will definitely be close,” Rullo said. “We’ve also had our share of bad luck, so hopefully now it’s our turn. I’d love to win it; it’s our local event.” Rullo rates Jon-Paul Van Loenhout as another serious outright contender. “It was his first year in that car last year and he came sixth. I know he’s been doing a bit of practice, so he should be on the pace. “I haven’t had any seat time in my car, but hope to get an hour or two on a track next week some time.” Quit Targa West Clerk of Course Ross Tapper says competition will be fierce across all four categories “Tolley Challis (Porsche 911) and Paul Moltoni (Porsche 911) are among the favourites in Competition Classic. Tolley did all 19 year years of Rally Australia when it was here and has contested all seven Targa Wests, winning the past two. “In Challenge Modern, Keith Hawley (Chevrolet Corvette) and Brett Wilkinson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) should be at the front, while Razvan Vlad will go very well in his Ford Fiesta, which won the Australian Rally Championship two-wheel drive title last year. “The top three from Challenge Classic in 2011, Bruce Lake (Datsun 240Z), Paul Thompson (Porsche 911) and Martin Eyer (Triumph TR8) are all back to fight it out again this year.” Quit Targa West will again offer many opportunities for the public to see the cars in action and at rest. Spectating highlights will include the new 12.22km Malaga stage, which will be run three times on Sunday morning 19 August. The stage passes through a light industrial area on the Perth outskirts and Mr Tapper predicts many business operators along the course will take an opportunity to host parties at their premises. Quit Targa West will finish with a dash alongside the Swan River before the podium celebrations in Plain Street, East Perth, at 4pm.

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