What form of motorsport has the Nissan GT-R not claimed a victory in? It looks like Nissan doesn’t seem to be surrendering the title out in Western Australia anytime soon. For the third straight year, the R35 GT-R has taken the top spot on the podium at the QUIT Targa West Tarmac rally.
This year it was Peter Major behind the wheel (with Kim Screaigh as co-driver), beating out Jim Richards and his Porsche GT2 by 51 seconds. And just to make the statement even bolder for Nissan and their GT-R, third place went to Peter Rullo and Simon Iseppi in another Nissan GT-R.
The win took place in the Competition Modern class and is Major’s first victory for 2010. In his previous three outings at QUIT Targa West, his best finish was seventh. And to make everything even sweeter, Mark and Andrew Conacher piloted their R35 GT-R to a win in the Modern Challenge class with Robert Darrington and David Abetz’s GT-R taking second place. Those two GT-Rs dominated their respective class by being a good 8.5 minutes ahead of the third place finisher.
And to think that Nissan is only working hard to make the GT-R a more powerful and better handling machine.
GALLERY: Peter Major’s Nissan GT-R
Competing in the rally for the third time Major’s previous best result was seventh outright.
“We’re over the moon the car was fantastic it did everything we wanted it to do,” Major said.
“It was great racing against Jimmy (Jim Richards), you know he’s going to come hard and no matter what he does he’s going to be fast.
“You never know how hard he’s pushing so we just tried to stay on it and stay as quick as we could, luckily we were able to keep that gap we gained in the first leg,” he continued.
Richards and Barry Oliver (Porsche GT2) crossed the final stop control in second outright with Peter Rullo and Simon Iseppi (Nissan GTR 35) holding off Ross Hamilton and Tony Robson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) to take third.
Defending Competition Modern Champion Steve Jones, who was hoping to become the first driver to win three QUIT Targa West crowns in a row, was forced to retire from the rally at the end of SS1 due to an engine failure.
QUIT Targa West 2010 concluded in spectacular fashion with the Killarnée City of Perth Super Stage run along the Swan River Foreshore.
It was the first time in the rally’s six-year history that a stage had been run in the heart of the city and more than 6000 spectators converged on the Esplanade to enjoy the action.
After holding a clear advantage over the Competition Classic class for the majority of the rally disaster struck Tolley Challis on the liaison to SS30 – the second last stage – when his Porsche 911 RS caught fire.
“I believe we’ve had a bit of a fuel issue, resulting in the air filter catching fire, hopefully we’ll be ok and we’ll do our best to get back out there,” Challis said at the time.
The crew were able to fix the car in within the required time frame, however, the organisers had already closed the stage which meant they were unable to start and received a derived time for SS30 before rejoining the rally for the final stage, SS31.
Despite the drama Challis and Flood held onto the top spot in the Competition Classic class by more than one minute, his best result at QUIT Targa West.
Mark and Mitchell O’Kane also recorded their best result at the rally since they made the switch to the Competition Classic class several years ago, second outright in their (Holden Torana A9X).
David and Vicki Moir (Datsun 240Z) have achieved second in the class for the past three years and while they once again missed out on taking the coveted winners trophy they rounded out the top three.
Mark and Andrew Conacher (Nissan GTR 35) returned to defend their 2009 Challenge Modern crown and proved once again to the crew to beat.
Robert Darrington and David Abetz upgraded to a (Nissan GTR 35) in the hope of reclaiming the trophy they held in 2007 but were unable to match the pace of the Conacher brothers out the front. A further 7 minutes and 35 seconds behind were Keith and Russell Hawley (Holden VU Ute) who held onto third in the class.
The Challenge Classic class was taken out by Robert Buys/Sanja Aksamija (Porsche 911) who put in a dominate display across all three Leg’s of the rally to take the class by 2 minutes 48 seconds. They were followed by Paul and Mitchell Thompson (Porsche 911 RS) in second and Martin and Sharon Eyer (Triumph TR8) in third.
QUIT Targa West was held from the 26th – 29th August 2010 in the Shires of Kalamunda and Toodyay and the City of Swan and City of Perth.