RUNAWAY TARGA LEADER HAS NO PLANS TO SLOW DOWN ON FINAL DAY
Runaway Targa New Zealand leader Glenn Inkster and co-driver Spencer Winn (Mitsubishi Evo 8) have no plans to slow down on the final day of the six-day Auckland-Palmerston North event today.
Despite leading from the start of the 21st annual tarmac motor rally in Auckland on Monday, and arriving in Havelock North on Friday evening with a lead of over nine minutes over former winner Tony Quinn and his co-driver Naomi Tillett (Nissan GT-R35), Inkster says it will be pedal to the metal for the final eight stages today.
"It's too much fun going fast," last year's South Island event winner said after Friday's marathon six-stage run which took the 60-strong field from a wet Manawatu to a dry Hawke's Bay via Taihape and a two-stage run across the iconic Gentle Annie road.
Event-long Targa 2015 leaders Glenn Inkster and Spencer Winn (Mitsubishi Evo 8).Picture/ Fast Company/Shotz.
With 231 kms to go from Havelock North to the finish today in Palmerston North the event is far from over. And Inkster and Winn could be forgiven for backing off to conserve their lead.
But that, the Pukekohe driver says, is not part of the plan.
"If you think of it like a rugby game," he said, "the worst thing a team can do if it is in front is back off. It is the same with us. If we backed off now we would be asking for trouble."
Despite another long day the running order remained largely the same on Friday with Inkster and Winn retaining their commanding class and overall lead over Quinn and Tillett and Instra.com Modern 2WD class leaders Martin Dippie and Jona Grant (Porsche 911 GT3).
Bevan Claridge and Campbell Tannock (Holden Commodore V8) are in a similar position to Inkster and Winn in the Metalman Classic 2WD class. With main rivals Mark and Chris Kirk-Burnnand (BMW M3) out of the event with a blown motor on Thursday, Claridge and Tannnock now have a 12 minute lead in their class over Australian husband and wife pair Keith and Mary-Anne Callinan (Ford Escort RS1800), and are seventh overall.
Second in Instra.com Modern 2WD are Steven Kirk-Burnnand and Mick Hay (BMW 318T1).Picture/ Fast Company/Shotz.
It’s closer in Instra.com Modern 2WD where Martin Dippie and Jona Grant have a three minute lead over Steven Kirk-Burnnand and Mick Hay (BMW 318T1 Compact), with the big mover in that class today, Perth-based Kiwi Robert Darrington and Auckland co-driver David Abetz (BMW M3).
Today's longer, more open stages really suited Darrington's BMW and he and Abetz are now third in class and an impressive sixth overall after displacing Grant Aitken and Caroline Cullimore (Toyota 86 RC)
The 21st annual Targa NZ event now heads west for the finish at Palmerston North (at the city's Square) today.
Information on both is available on the event website www.targa.co.nz or in the latest copy of NZ Classic Car magazine.
Targa New Zealand events are organised with the support of sponsors Chicane, Ecolight, Federal tyres, Global Security, Kids In Cars, Metalman, NZ Classic Car magazine, Race Brakes, Racetech, TeamTalk, TrackIt and VTNZ.
Andrew Simms Allcomers 4WD
1. Glenn Inkster/Spencer Winn (2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) 05:49:13
2. Tony Quinn/Naomi Tillett (2008 Nissan GTR) 05:58:49
3. Brian Green/Fleur Pedersen (2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X RS) 06:17:17
4. David Rogers/Aidan Kelly (2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X RS) 06:21:40
5. Graeme Wong/Kim Blatchley (1998 Subaru Impreza Type R) 06:44:06
6. Jeff McCandless/Marcella Mumm (2010 Subaru WRX ST1) 06:52:38