ST. JOHN’S, NL (September 15, 2013) – Heavy rain showers affected the driving conditions for the start of the 12th annual Targa Newfoundland rally. The prologue in Flatrock, Pouch Cove, and Torbay was a total success. It prepared teams for the wet weather driving conditions, how their vehicles handle in both the wet and dry, and how to handle unexpected circumstances.
A large number of spectators came out in all three communities to enjoy the motorsport action. Fans young and old enjoyed watching the 1965 Ford Mustang of Jack Rogers and CJ Strupp (Indiana) and the local team of Richard Atkinson and Kirk Tarrant of St. John’s in their 1995 Acura Integra skillfully attacking the steep hills and sharp turns of the northeast Avalon communities.
The weather and road conditions did contribute to three incidents during the prologue stages. Two had mechanical issues. An engine failure which is being worked on to have the car at the start line in Conception Harbour/Colliers for the morning stage, and another mechanical issue leading to the car going off course causing it minor front end damage. No injuries were incurred by the driver, co-driver, or spectators in that incident. Another car also went off course, causing minor damage to the vehicle and no injuries to the team members or spectators.
Former Open Division winners Jim Kenzie (Ontario) and Brian Bourbonnierre (Nova Scotia) in their Kia Optima, and Kia team mates Jacques Deshaies and Guy McKenzie (Quebec) in their Kia Forte Koup enjoyed today’s stages and found the driving conditions gave them a lot of information for the next several days of competition. The weather is always a variable while driving in Targa Newfoundland, adding to the thrill of the event.
Monday morning will be the first transit stage when the cars leave the St. John’s area and venture out into the more rural setting of eastern and central Newfoundland. Stages in Colliers, Sunnyside, Port Blandford, and other communities await the teams, with a car show at the Gander Community Centre scheduled for 7pm Monday evening. The Gander area has always been a strong supporter of Targa Newfoundland, and it is expected to show this support over the next couple of days.
Full scoring for the event will occur Monday, with valuable timing and safety points up for grabs for those teams who are able to complete the stage in the assigned times. The pressure, and the excitement, increases with each passing day.
From Darren Sheppard / www.targanewfoundland.com