Matt James-Wallace has made it two consecutive victories in the Shannons Targa Rallysprint Series after winning the third round of the 2021/2022 season.
With a huge field of 80 drivers getting four runs of the Perth Motorplex course, James-Wallace and his co-driver Ben Tuck ended up enjoying an outright six-second victory over David Heaton and Caleb Ash thanks to a near-faultless display.
Behind the wheel of a 1993 Nissan GTR R32, the reigning champion missed out on a clean sweep of run wins after falling short of Chris Caruso by just over one second.
However it didn’t take long for him to regain the lead after a brilliant second run saw him go two seconds faster than both Caruso in his 2008 Dodge Viper ACR and Heaton in his 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X.
On the third run, James-Wallace went fastest again and extended his lead at the top of time sheets, only this time it was by just half a second over Heaton, who managed to replace Caruso in second place in the process.
James-Wallace saved his best run until last with the leader producing an event-fastest 2:11.92 and locking in his second win of the season.
After having a difficult opening round in November, James-Wallace was thrilled to make it two wins from three rounds and get one step closer to another title.
“I’m very happy with the performance, especially since we have settled after that rough opening round where we scored no points,” James-Wallace said.
“We went into this round not sure about what was going to happen because we had tyre issues during the last round, so I had brought in an old set of medium tyres.
“But after what was a slippery first run, the track cleared up and the old mediums certainly delivered. We got a handle on it and everything just clicked after that.
“Also, being beaten by Chris on the opening inspired me to get faster.
“When I regained the lead from him in that second run, I knew I was on and I knew that I could produce more times like that. I had improved by three seconds between runs, so I had the wind in my sails again which helped me for the third and fourth runs.
“I also had lots of confidence in the car, which helped. The team at Tunecorp have provided me with a really reliable car and when you’re not worried about the car and what it’s doing, you focus purely on your own performance, which helps me do well.
“I am very happy with how the last two seasons have gone and although anything can happen in motorsport, I think I am on the right track for another title.”
Like James-Wallace, Heaton secured his best time for the day on the last run, yet still fell almost two seconds behind the winner.
With Caruso and his co-driver Alex Butler unable to replicate their first half performances, they had to settle for third place outright behind Heaton.
Caruso and Butler didn’t leave empty handed though as they managed to secure Targa Cup honours over Mark Cirillo and Ben-Lee D'limi, who finished fourth place outright.
Click here to view outright results from the night.
The fourth round of the Shannons Targa Rallysprint Series takes place on Thursday 24 February.