This is the second guest post in a series by Warwick Patterson from flatovercrest.com who is in Newfoundland covering the 2008 Targa event.
End of Leg 1
As the rest of the world clocked into work on Monday morning, Targa Newfoundland competitors punched a different sort of time clock. With the sun rising above the rocky, rugged landscape, teams convoyed out to Argentia and Placentia for the first true competitive stages (Leg 1-Stage 1).
There are a lot of serious race teams here this week, and they all came prepared to go fast right from the word go. Sixteen teams cleared today’s stages with zero penalty points, and another 11 teams are within just a few seconds. The final stage through Eastport was the toughest test today, showing drivers how hard they will have to push in the days ahead.
The unique nature of the roads often catch a few new teams off guard on the first day. Surprisingly, the first team to end their event this year was the experienced duo of Dirk Bolger and Terry Milnes in “Molly” the Mini. They went off the road only 2km into the second stage, requiring an extraction. We understand everyone is okay, but the beautiful 1964 Mini Cooper has seen better days. Mark Kile and Kevin Paradise of Connecticut also had an off-road excursion in their Honda Civic. The damage looked extensive, but word on the street is that they are trying to get back it back on the road. Targa wouldn’t be Targa without some comeback stories!
When asked if his Audi Quattro was as fun to drive as it was to watch, Frank Sprongl smiled wryly, saying that, “It has a lot of power…a LOT of power!”
Bill Shannahan and Murray Smith in their 1966 Corvette Coupe suffered a slight oil leak after cracking their oil pan, but were able to fix it and get to the end of the day. They mentioned that the car really isn’t suited to the tight, twisty stages they experienced today. Hopefully they’ll feel more at home on the fast “Leading Tickles” stages tomorrow, where many teams sit at the 200kph limit for extended lengths of time.
Demitri Andreou and Stephen Rodger have been showing impressive speed in their Mitsubishi EVO 9, and the factory Mitsubishi teams are getting settled into their fresh new cars. Andrew Comrie-Picard and Jen Horsey are among the teams with no penalties, and are looking forward to pushing hard tomorrow.
Tomorrow the teams enjoy some fantastic scenery around Gander, including the infamous Leading Tickles stages which ends at the lunch stop in a picturesque cove. Leave us some comments below and let us know if you have any questions…perhaps you want some clarification on how Targa works, or want us to ask a team a specific question? Comment away, and we’ll be sure to bring you more coverage as the stories develop. And to all those asking for video footage of the Audi…we’re working on it!