Targa Adelaide – Getting into it on Day 3

It’s funny how sometimes things just ‘click’ in a rally car. The notes work, the car’s in its sweet spot and the driver feels right at home. It’s usually an unspoken feeling, but both the driver and co-driver know when its working. It’s smooth, it’s fast and it’s safe. For us, Targa Adelaide really clicked on day 3.

In what’s becoming a rather groundhog day-esque habit, the day began at Wayville showground’s Goyder pavilion where we met up with the service crew at the rally car. The guys identified a small electrical problem, so James and Mick jumped into fixing it for us.

You get an odd feeling at Goyder in the morning. We make sure to meet up with the crew about half an hour before our report time to make sure we’re ready to rally, which usually means a lot of waiting around. Whilst it may feel like a waste of time, it’s important to arrive early to give ourselves time to fix any problems that may occur. We usually have time to talk with other competitors and to check out the rest of the cars, but there’s a strange feeling of anticipation and slight trepidation. Everybody just wants to hurry up and get the day underway.

I guess we should have expected it given yesterdays tragic events, but there were a couple of TV news crews waiting for us when we arrived at the start of Eagle on The Hill, the day’s first stage. The channel 9 news girl interviewed Guy and filmed our car for a bit, and asked a few pointed questions in an attempt to elicit a juicy response for the evening news. Guy did fantastically, delivering a professional interview without saying the wrong thing.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to run Eagle on the Hill at speed as there were a few problems with so called ‘foggy joggers’ (our interpretation of the sign!)…

… and one particularly stubborn woman who insisted on driving backwards down the road, even despite the police attempting to stop her. In the end they had to cancel the stage to keep the rally on schedule.

Upper Sturt was the first stage of the day for us, and we were cheered on by an over-enthusiastic Michael Katsikitis, on the left wearing red. It was great to see!

I’m starting to suspect that our service crew are hoping something goes wrong with the car so they’ll have something to do. They keep following us all over the hills, strategically placing themselves to help us in the event of emergency or breakdown. But sadly (happily) we needed none of their services, so this time we just stopped for a quick photo and to say hi. We really owe these guys and the rest of the crew not pictured for their dedication and assistance. It’s reassuring knowing that they’re always close by if we need them, and if we did need them it would be these guys who save our rally.

I feel extremely privileged to be able to compete in Targa because I’m fortunate enough to be living out a lot of my childhood fantasies. As a primary school kid growing up in the hills at Mount Barker, I’d always head out to watch the Classic Adelaide with my parents, and dreamt of one day being able to compete myself. A few years later I learnt to drive on these roads, so it feels kind of special to be sitting on the start line of a competitive stage less than 10km from where I grew up.

Todays lunch break was at the Callington oval which was dry, and almost (dare I say) warm.

I had enough time to check out the VW Caddy of Troy Ryan and Guy Sierp. Despite its unassuming looks, this is a thoroughly prepared rally car. A bigger turbo is pumping 45psi of boost into the diesel engine, which is limited to 450nm of torque and puts around 130kw at the wheels through a limited slip diff. And what’s more, it’s lighter than the Golf it’s based on, too.

But it’s piece de resistance? You’re looking at a CAMS homologated roof ladder there.

Back into the stages and we had an absolute cracker of an afternoon. We flew through the Nairne stage, but our best performance of the event so far came on the last test of the day, Norton Summit. In terms of stage times we’ve been running around 7th-12th in Late Classic Handicap for most of the event, but on Norton Summit we managed to finish 3rd. It was brilliant. It clicked.

Tom Gilbert is having an absolute blast driving the new Toyota 86 in regularity. The cars in this class aren’t fitted with roll cages or harnesses so they’re limited to a 130km/h top speed, but the rules don’t say anything about corner speeds and on some stages the 130 limit isn’t really much of a problem. I don’t see Tom and navigator Ben Angel terribly high in the regularity results, which indicates to me that they’re really just out for a quick spin through the hills on closed roads.

And who could blame them for just wanting to enjoy the drive? Tom and the guys at Adelaide Hills Toyota let me take this 86 for a drive a few weeks back, so I know just how much fun they’re having!

After the day’s stages it was back to Eurosport Automotive in Kent Town for service.

It’s always fun checking out the rest of the cars at Eurosport, and seeing what’s under construction.

I wonder if this Alfa 105 will hit the special stage in Targa next year?

This V8 Alfa Montreal has direct mechanical lineage to the famous Targa Florio Alfa Tipo 33 sports racers of the 70’s, and is being prepared to Group S historic circuit racing specifications. It should be quite the weapon once completed.

If there ever was a ‘spirit of rally’ award, it would undoubtably go to Glenn Dean and Damian Reed. A few weeks ago these guys had just a Targa entry in hand and a painted shell sitting in the shed, and somehow managed to build a car in time for the event. Just making it to the start line was an amazing accomplishment.

The Escort had run almost faultlessly until this afternoon when they lost power toward the end of the Nairne stage. The highly strung Pinto then began to make some serious death knocking sounds which signalled the end of their day.

So at 5pm this evening the call was put out on Facebook to try and find another engine. They’ve managed to borrow one, and as I write they are madly swapping them over to make tomorrows stages. If that’s not rally, I don’t know what is.

They might be needed the services of the Escort Doctor, though!

One for the Euro car fanboys.

Tolley Challis had a minor altercation with a bank after the finish line of yesterdays final stage. I wonder who’s door he went knocking on for spare 911 parts?

Tomorrow is a short day, with just Gorge Road, Basket Range and Echunga to run before the finish with a street party in Gouger Street. See you there!

Supaloc Targa Adelaide
Results after Day 3

1. Jason White / John White, 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo, 19m26s
2. Tony Quinn / Naomi Tillett, 2011 Nissan GT-R, +44s
3. Peter Rullo / Simon Iseppi, 2012 Nissan GT-R, +3m21s
4. Andrew Burnard / Tim Magarch, 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII, +7m43s
5. Peter Leemhuis / Ben Fitzsimons, 2008 Nissan GT-R, +10m36s

1. Craig Haysman / Neil Branum, 1981 Triumph TR7 V8, 29m41s
2. Nick Streckeisen / Mike Dale, 1985 Porsche 944 Turbo, +1m16s
3. Roger Paterson / Paul Whatnell, 1974 Porsche 911 RS, +1m40s
4. Barry Faux / Therezia Mihajlovic, 1979 Mazda RX7, +1m42s
5. Donn Todd / Dean Tighe, 1971 Ford Capri Perana, +2m38s

1. Bill Brentzell / Karien Heimsohn, 1965 Shelby GT350, 27m28s
2. Rob Black / Vivek Ponnusamy, 1971 Porsche 911 S, +3m11s
3. Richard Woodward / Neil Gibson, 1969 Holden Monaro GTS, +3m43s
4. Donn Todd / Dean Tighe, 1971 Ford Capri Perana, +3m52s
5. Andrew Bryson / Craig Milich, 1964 Hillman Imp Rallye, +3m58s

1. Nick Streckeisen / Mike Dale, 1985 Porsche 944 Turbo, 25m14s
2. Barry Faux / Therezia Mihajlovic, 1979 Mazda RX7, +26s
3. Bruce Power / Ray Baker, 1979 Mazda RX7, 28s
4. Craig Haysman / Neil Branum, 1981 Triumph TR7 V8, +1m51s
5. Roger Paterson / Paul Whatnell, 1974 Porsche 911 RS, +2m01s

1. Tim Possingham / Ben Scott, 1990 Nissan Skyline GT-R, 19m55s
2. Andre Lukasz / Adam Tillett, 1994 Nissan 200 SX, +5m59s
3. Adam Kaplan / David Kaplan, 1988 Holden Commodore HSV, +6m08s
4. Charles Nott / Henry Nott, 1998 TVR Chimaera, +9m06s
5. Richard Perini / Chris Perini, 2000 Porsche 911 GT3, +9m51s

1. Greg Burrowes / Rhonda Burrowes, 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, 32m53s
2. Michael Flood / Nathan Green, 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, +2m35s
4. Allan Mair / Michelle Mair, 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, +8m43s

1. Glyn Crimp / Paul van der Mey, 2010 Ford Focus RS, 35m02s

1. Neill Ford / Nathalie Ford, 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 36m46s

1. John Goodall / Graham Palich, 2009 Porsche Cayman, 278 points
2. Richard Davis / Bill Best, 2008 HSV W427, 313 points
3. Graeme Lowe / Gordon Elley, 1983 Porsche 911, Turbo, 591 points

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  1. Michael Myllynen August 26, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for the picture of the M3 and the S2.. One happy Eurocar fanboy here.. A pity I can't see them in action.

    Keep up the great work Andrew and good luck for tomorrow.

    P.s. You'll have to tell Katsikitis to get on the road next time.. true crazy rally spectator style!

    • Andrew Coles August 27, 2012 Reply

      Thanks Michael, the S2 was a beautifully prepared car. Wednesdays prologue was about as close as we'll ever get in Australia to Euro rallying - spectators on the roof, on bins, cramming everywhere!

  2. Tom Gilbert August 26, 2012 Reply

    Good summary Andrew, and my word you boys have really had the little Fiat wound up. Great work. Good to see all the Hills boys doing well! And yes, we kind of hard to "go slow" and make target times when these beautiful roads beckon.

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