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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.

Story by Ross MacKay. Photos by Pro/Shotz.

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.

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