Glenn Inkster and co-driver Spencer Winn (Mitsubishi Evo 8) claimed their four consecutive Targa New Zealand win in this year’s October 24-28 Aucklandto-Wellington event.
They did it in some style this year too, winning the lion’s share of the 28 closed special stages while – over the last two days – successfully managing a turbo manifold issue which twice threatened to see them parked at the side of the road.
Though the Day 1 demise of fellow Targa stalwarts Leigh Hopper and co-driver Michael Goudie, thanks to overheating issues with Hopper’s latest highhorsepower Subaru Impreza WRX, robbed the event of early interest, it didn’t take long for other pairings to step up to the plate.
From the start of the second day former NZ Rally Champion Chris West and co-driver Chris Cobham (Mitsubishi Evo 10) fought a hand-to-hand battle for second place with fellow Mitsubishi Evo (9) pair Jason Gill and Mark Robinson, and the Subaru Impreza WRX of Nic De Waal and Shane Reynolds.
West and Cobham were then in the box seat, taking a stage win off Inkster and Winn on the third day between Hamilton and New Plymouth when a blown turbo manifold first slowed the leading pair.
Any hope West and Cobham had, in turn, of taking the lead were dashed, however, when they had car problems of their own that day and the next, leaving the fight for second place to expat South African race and rally ace De Waal and co-driver Reynolds, and Gill and his co-driver Robinson, who come the final day dash from Palmerston North to Wellington via the Wairarapa, were rarely more than 30 seconds apart.
No matter what he tried, however, Gill could not bridge the gap on De Waal – overall and in the AndrewSimms.co.nz Allcomers 4WD class – with the final margin between second and third place just 30.8 seconds.
Fourth overall was Steven Kirk-Burnnand and codriver Mike Hay (BMW 318ti Compact) who withstood a confident last-minute charge from 2013 Targa NZ winners Martin Dippie and co-driver Jona Grant in Dippie’s current-generation Porsche 911 GT3 RS to claim both AndrewSimms.co.nz Allcomers 2WD class and first two-wheel-drive car home honours.
Consolation for Dippie and Grant came in their own class win – in Global Security Production 2WD (GT2) – but they were still over a minute behind KirkBurnnand and Hay in fifth.
Sixth after a great comeback drive after an incident on Friday was the first of the late model Mitsubishi Evo 10s of Auckland pair David Rogers and co-driver Aidan Kelly, seventh the irrepressible Grooten brothers, Tom and Ben, in Tom’s giant-killing Toyota Starlet.
The closest finish of this year’s five-day 700+ special stage km event came in Metalman Classic 2WD where long-time class and event front-runners, Mark and Chris Kirk-Burnnand (BMW M3) led home the Toyota Corolla AE86 coupe of event-long rivals Rob Ryan and Paul Burborough home by just 0.3 of a second.
After swapping the class lead back and forth on Friday it looked like the Kirk-Burnnands – Mark behind the wheel and his father Chris in the codriver’s seat – had the goods on the morning.
But an out-of-balance driveshaft issue saw them plummet down the leader board, losing what had been an almost three-minute advantage over Ryan and Burborough.
However, the latter pair had a problem of their own; a leaking main seal which saw them also slow dramatically, with oil leaking into the clutch assembly, the stage before.
Ryan’s crew managed to change the seal during the lunch time service, and get the car back on the road and with the Kirk-Burnnand BMW crippled and running well off the pace it looked like a forgone conclusion… until the final stage was cancelled and the result called after Stage 27… when the KirkBurnnands still – just – ahead!
Targa New Zealand events are organised by the Ultimate Rally Group with the support of sponsors AndrewSimms.co.nz, Chicane Racewear, Ecolight, Global Security, Kids In Cars, Metalman.co.nz, NZ Classic Car magazine, Race Brakes, Racetech, TeamTalk, TrackIt, VTNZ and Writeraze.
For more information go to www.targa.co.nz or check out the Targa NZ ‘the Ultimate Road Race’ page on Facebook.
Glenn Inkster and Spencer Winn (#954 Mitsubishi Evo 8) celebrate their fourth win in a Targa New Zealand event in Wellington on Saturday evening.
First 2WD car home – in fourth place – was the #756 BMW 318ti Compact of Steven Kirk-Burnnand and Mike Hay.