Targa tarmac rally specialist Jason Gill and new co-driver Nicole Summerfield (VW Polo R) got their chance to shine on the first day of competition at the revived two-day Targa Rotorua tarmac motor rally in and around the lakeside Bay of Plenty tourist town today.
With mechanical issues sidelining multi-time former event winner and favourite Leigh Hopper and co-driver Michael Goudie (Subaru Impreza WRX) just five kilometres into the first stage, and also claiming fellow usual event front-runner David Rogers and his co-driver, Shane Reynolds (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10) early in the second, neither Gill nor fellow Auckland Targa event veteran Cameron Ross and his co-driver Matthew Buer (Subaru Impreza WRX) needed any extra encouragement to step into the limelight.
Both drivers won three stages apiece with the day’s final finishing order only really decided in Gill and Summerfield’s favour when they won the final stage of the day – by 4.6 seconds over former Targa NZ winner Martin Dippie and co-driver Jona Grant (Porsche 911 GT3 RS) with Ross and Buer a further 4.4 seconds back in third.
Gill and Summerfield now head into the second day of competition on the western side of the Mamaku Ranges and centred on Cambridge, with a lead of 16.9 seconds over Ross and Buer with the Dippie/Grant Porsche 911 GT3 RS the first of the non 4WD runners in third place a further 27.4 seconds back.
For more information go to targa.nz or check out the Targa NZ page on Facebook.
Day 1 Results (Top 10)
1/ Jason Gill/Nicole Summerfield, (VW Polo R) 1:28:31.2
2/ Cameron Ross/Matthew Buer, (Subaru Impreza Sti) 1:28:48.1
3/ Martin/Jona Grant, (Porsche 991 GT3) 1:29:15.5
4/ Rory Callaway/Samantha Gray, (Subaru Impreza Sti) 1:30:08.7
5/ Bruce Herbert/Bevan Parker, (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 10) 1:30:35.4
6/ Mike Tubbs/Brooke Walde,n (BMW M2) 1:31:05.2
7/ Robert Darrington/David Abetz, (BMW E46 M3) 1:31:19.3
8/ Andrew Oakley/Steve Hutchins, (Audi RS5) 1:32:37.3
9/ Stephen Harrison/Jono Climo, (Audi S3) 1:33:32.8
10/ Nathan Apatu/David Goodwin, (Porsche GT3) 1:33.48.6