Luke Anear and Andy Sarandis have secured their first outright Motorsport Australia TARGA Championship round victory after winning the 2021 TARGA Great Barrier Reef.
Behind the wheel of a 2010 Subaru WRX STi, Anear and Sarandis ended up taking out the 2021/2022 season opener in Cairns thanks to a final day charge.
With 130 crews contesting the 17-stage event, the outright battle came down to just two with Anear and Sarandis having trailed last year’s winner in Tony Quinn and co-driver Brian Foster for much of the three-day tarmac rally.
The opening leg comfortably belonged to Quinn and Foster, while Anear and Sarandis managed to make plenty of inroads on day two, reducing the gap between the two crews to just 11 seconds.
An exciting final day saw Quinn hold on for as long as he could, until Anear’s relentless pressure paid off, securing the lead on the 15th stage, ultimately finishing the event 17 seconds ahead of Quinn.
Rounding out the outright podium was a local North Queensland crew in Steve Van Der Brug and Linda Rankine, with the duo driving another 2010 Subaru WRX STi.
Following on from his maiden victory, Anear was thrilled to win in the manner that he did.
“We had a red hot go and I drove the best I’ve ever ridden and we caught him (Quinn) on the Palmerston run (TS 15),” Anear said.
“He wasn’t going to let me by and it was very satisfying. Then we managed to double the lead again on the next shorter stage.”
“Because the roads were damp we reckon the Subaru was the right car for the conditions.
“I’ve got to thank Ben Newman who gave me the car which was prepared by Buckby Motorsport on the proviso that ‘you go up there and win it’.”
The top three outright crews were the same for the GT class podium, while Anear also took home top honours Cairns Regional Council GT Production.
In Shannons Classic GT, 1983 Holden Commodore pilots Anthony Genocchio and Robert Horsfall were benefactors of a late retirement to Jon and Gina Siddins to secure the class win.
In other classes, Paolo and Claire Buccini were too good in the Dutton Garage Early Modern 2, Geoff and Toni Hewitt triumphed in Early Modern 4, Tim and Kym Hall dominated the Shannons Thoroughbred Trophy to win by nine minutes and Darryl and Peter Marshall were unstoppable in the Cairns Regional Council TSD Trophy.
Click here to view full results.
The next round of 2021/2022 Motorsport Australia TARGA Championship will be TARGA High Country in Victoria around Mansfield and Mount Buller on 12–14 November 2021.