Duo aims for Targa win


De­fend­ing and now three-time Targa NZ ti­tle hold­ers Glenn Inkster and Spencer Winn de­servedly hold favourite sta­tus head­ing into this year’s five-day Targa New Zealand tar­mac mo­tor rally.

The rally started at Hampton Downs on Tues­day and rac­ing over var­i­ous lo­cal roads in Wairarapa on the last day on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 28.

In be­tween are 641.56km of (28) closed special stages and 1167.07km of tour­ing sec­tions, with overnight stops in Hamil­ton (Tues­day and Wed­nes­day), New Ply­mouth (Thurs­day) and Palmer­ston North (Fri­day).

Sep­a­rately scored two-day re­gional rally and tour events will also run con­cur­rently, start­ing in New Ply­mouth on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 27 and fin­ish­ing in Welling­ton on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 28.

On Fri­day the rally will drive from New Ply­mouth to Palmer­ston North and drivers will park in The Square, then head to Master­ton in the morn­ing.

They have at­tracted an ad­di­tional eight com­pe­ti­tion en­tries plus nine tour starters bring­ing the to­tal event en­try over the five days to over 100 cars.

The an­nual Targa NZ event re­mains on the bucket list of many mo­tor­sport fans and every year at­tracts a broad cross-sec­tion of reg­u­lar com­peti­tors, from tar­mac rally spe­cial­ists to sports and clas­sic car own­ers who com­plete the Targa Tour, which fol­lows the same course but is not timed.

Hav­ing now won the past three Targa events Inkster and his co-driv­ing boss (he owns elec­tri­cal util­i­ties whole­saler Transnet and light­ing spe­cial­ist EcoLight) Winn are again odds-on favourites for both the All­com­ers 4WD class, as well as the event over­all in the much mod­i­fied Mit­subishi Evo 8 Inkster de­scribes as Su­per­car.’

Since switch­ing his pri­mary fo­cus from gravel to tar­mac events, Inkster served a lengthy ap­pren­tice­ship un­der five-time for­mer event win­ner Tony Quinn be­fore tak­ing over from the master in 2014.

Quinn has re­turned twice since, but has been forced to forego this year’s be­cause of a fi­nal day date clash with the penul­ti­mate round of the Aus­tralian GT Se­ries at his Hampton Downs cir­cuit.

De­spite Quinn’s ab­sence, Inkster and Winn face no lack of com­pe­ti­tion this year.

The win­ner of the 2013 event, and podium fin­ish­ers (sec­ond last year, third in 2015) for the past two years, Martin Dip­pie and co-driver Jona Grant from ‘part rally car, part Dunedin, are back in Dip­pie’s lat­est Porsche GT3 RS and again look set to dom­i­nate the Pro­duc­tion 2WD class as well as vie for over­all event hon­ours.

Mul­ti­ple two-day Ro­torua event win­ner Leigh Hop­per and co-driver Michael Goudie (Subaru WRX Im­preza) also head a posse of no less than six 4WD Turbo cars just as quick as Inkster’s in the All­com­ers 4WD class.

In­cluded in that group are the Mit­subishi Evos of Auck­land pair Ja­son Gill and Mark Robin­son, 2004 NZ Rally cham­pion Chris West and co-driver Chris Cob­ham, Dave Rogers and co­driver Ai­dan Kelly as well as Brian Green and co-driver Fleur Ped­er­sen in a lo­cally-built Evo-en­gined Mit­subishi Mi­rage, and the Subaru WRX of Nic de Waal and co-driver Shane Reynolds.


Glenn Inkster and Spencer Winn are chas­ing an­other ti­tle.

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