Peter Rullo and Jimmy Marquet have produced a faultless performance to dominate the 2021 Make Smoking History Targa West.
Out of the 64 crews contesting the 270 competitive kilometres, Rullo and Marquet led the field at the conclusion of every day to take out a commanding victory almost two minutes ahead of their nearest rivals.
With 37 stages being run over the four days, Rullo steered their 2020 SSC Lotus Exige GT to 21 stage wins, both outright and shared, as well as finishing second fastest in a further 13 stages.
The duo’s consistency and overall pace saw them increase their margin day-by-day before eventually taking the win over Steve Jones and co-driver Caleb Ash in their 2008 Nissan R35 GTR.
After securing his second Targa West title three years after his first, Rullo was thrilled with what was a near perfect weekend.
“This is what we love to do and there’s not too many places in Australia where you can enjoy this type of event, so thanks to everyone who worked to make it happen,” Rullo said.
“We had an awesome lead up and Jimmy was faultless – you do need to listen to the co-driver. The whole event went exactly to plan.”
Rounding out the podium a further two minutes and 15 seconds off the leaders was David Heaton, who was behind the wheel of his new 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS alongside seasoned co-driver Steve Glenney and picked up his best result in 12 attempts.
In the Competition Classic category, Simon Gunson made it three wins in a row after a comfortable event behind his 1971 Ford Capri Perana.
Right from the get-go, Gunson and co-driver Nigel Jones proved just too strong for his rivals as he turned a 12 second day one lead to a two and half minute win over 1974 Porsche 911 pilots Tim Wolfe and Scott Beckwith.
Having won 2014 and 2016’s events before going back-to-back in 2019 and 2020, Gunson was thrilled to complete the hat-trick in such dominant fashion.
“We thought, well we had some rubber left on the tyres we might as well put on a bit of a show, that’s what people come out to see,” Gunson said.
“We’re really happy, it was a great rally and we’ve had tremendous support, thanks to everyone – especially our service crew who are a great bunch of mates.”
While Gunson and Jones were in a league of their own at the front of the category, the battle for second went right down to the wire.
With just three seconds separating Wolfe and Beckwith with Nathan and Kevin Ellement at the start of the final day, Wolfe and Beckwith ended up winning the first three stages to push out the gap and essentially seal the deal.
However, a late fight back from the Ellements in their 1985 Chevrolet Corvette C4 to win the event’s final three stages certainly added to the drama and the two second gap between second and third at the end of competition.
Unfortunately for the Ellements it would prove too little too late as they fell just short and settled for a respectable third place.
Jürgen and Helen Lunsmann were clinical in the Targa West 165 class, steering their Tesla 3 Performance+ to 36 stage wins and the category honours over Targa West rookies Mathew St Guillaume and James Brittain in their 2006 Porsche Cayman.
Taking out top honours in the entry-level Targa 130 category were Aaron Williams and co-driver Rachel Ferrante after guiding their 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7 to a thrilling four stage wins on the final day.
As a result of their final day heroics, the duo was able to beat Subaru WRX STI pilots Chris Beerens and Alex Butler.
Click here for full results from Targa West.