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.