@targanl • @LucasOil • CLARENVILLE, NL – As the excitement of the day finally subsides, the results at the end of the Lucas Oil North East Avalon Leg 1 of competition shows some surprising rookies at the top of Grand Touring, a returning team in Classic wanting to redeem themselves after engine issues last year, and a couple of 5 way ties in both Modern and Open divisions of the Targa.
The Grand Touring, Equipped leaders are the surprise story so far. The 2015 Nissan Micra SR M/T co-driven by Keri Potipcoe and Michel Crepault (below), who are both auto journalist selected by the Nissan backed factory team to be the team for that entry, are showing poise and handling the early pressure of the time-distance-speed calculation aspect of the division. They have a 4 second lead over Targa veterans of John Hume Sr. and Craig MacMullen in their 2013 Mini GP, who will certainly be pressuring the rookies in the coming days to see if they’ll crack and give up the lead.
The Grand Touring, Unequipped leader is the brother team of Geoff and Lester Pike, who are members of the ‘Racing with the Reverend’ entry. Their 2014 Scion FR-S is showing great handling and is standing up to what the Newfoundland weather can throw at it with the wet conditions on the stages. They currently have a 9 second lead over their teammates, so bragging rights are currently on the line between the teams.
In the Classic division, the 1965 Ford Mustang of Americans Jack Rogers and CJ Strupp are on top with a 16 second lead over the local entry of Edison and Marg-o Wiltshire in their 1977 Porsche 911. The American team had to retire mid-event last year due to engine failure, so they are hoping for a much better result in the 2014 event. The first ever pickup truck in Targa (below) is also in the division, with the Ontario team of Mark Bovey and Miles Markovic in their 1971 GMC 1500 in 3rd.
The bad luck award goes to the 1959 Corvette of the Brown brothers (below), who went off the stage in Conception Harbour/Colliers in the morning. No injuries to the crew, but the car did suffer front end damage that did not allow them to complete any other stages on the day. They will however, be at the start line Tuesday morning as the car has since been repaired.
Modern division has a 5 way tie at the top after Leg 1. The entries of Hume Jr./Crant, Jullian/Andrews, Oldford/Oldford, Mepham/Solecki, and Hartling/Proudfoot are all at the top. That will certainly change after tomorrow’s northern Burin Peninsula stages.
Another eyebrow raiser is the 5 way tie at the top of the Open division. With 2 all rookie teams (Stewart/Smith and Knott/Knott) along with 3 veteran teams with at least a couple Targa’s under their belts (Rittenhouse/Laitenberger, Davenport/Benson, and Atkinson/Corbett), the mixture of savvy young guns against the wise, capable veterans will be a great storyline to watch in the coming days.
The City Tire/Goodyear North Burin Leg 2 on Tuesday will certainly spread out the teams in all of the divisions. The mixture of short, tight stages mixed with the longer, spread out routes will give the entries chances to show their stuff and get some distance on their rivals. A favorite area for Targa Newfoundland, the northern Burin stages will certainly be an exciting day for the volunteers and the teams involved.
Owned and operated by Newfoundland International Motorsports Limited, Targa Newfoundland is one of three internationally recognized Targa motorsports events in the world. The 2014 competition will start in St. John’s on September 14 and concludes back in the capital on September 19. The annual rally will cover more than 1,550 kilometres of the challenging, twisty roads of the central and eastern portion of Newfoundland, including 430 kilometres of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages.
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