(september 16, 2012)
Rookies, veterans share the podium at Targa Newfoundland 2012
ST. JOHN'S (September 15, 2012) -- Rally rookies and seasoned veterans shared the champagne last night when the surviving teams struggled across the line at the end of a grueling week of competition in Targa Newfoundland 2012.
Local teams captured two of the classes, as results show St. John's native Scott Giannou and co-driver Ray Felice of Guelph, Ontario, notching a third straight victory in the Classic Division while Paul Dyer, of Bauline, Newfoundland, and Justin Crant of Paradise, Newfoundland, were faultless in their domination of the Open Division in their Mitsubishi Lancer. Dyer's performance was impressive considering it was his first time as a driver in Targa.
Second place in Classic went to the immaculate Ford Escort of the British team of Ben Gill and Dave Didcock -- a remarkable performance for the team in their first attempt at Targa and only their second rally. Third went to the Porsche of long-time Targa competitors Bill Shanahan a Murray Smith of the U.S.
The battle for second in Open was finally settled in favor of Samuel Hubinette of Sweden and co-driver Jen Horsey of Toronto, who wheeled their tiny Fiat Abarth home ahead of the monster Mustang of Ray and Julie Halleran of Paradise, Newfoundland. The two teams had been separated by seconds in their five-day battle, with the little car prevailing over the tight stages of the final day of competition. Although he is a professional driver, it was Hubinette's first rally.
The Modern Division was controlled from the start by another pro, as Andrew Comrie-Picard of Edmonton (via California) and expatriate Australian Brian O'Kane of Calgary steered their Mitsubishi Lancer to a decisive victory ahead of Targa rookies Bill Caswell and Horst Reinhardt of the U.S. in their BMW M3. The battle for third place went down to the final day, when the MINI Cooper S of Doug Mepham, of Belleville, Ontario, and co-driver John Solecki of Pickering, Ontario, moved ahead of the impressive rookie team of Daryl Leiski and co-driver Grant Lindsay of Prince George, B.C. The Leiski/Lindsay team fought right to the end, but crashed their Fiat Abarth on the penultimate special stage of the rally and failed to finish -- a disappointing end to an otherwise excellent debut.
The Grand Touring competition see-sawed back-and-forth all week between three team-mates but was finally settled in favor of John Hume Sr of Toronto, and Craig MacMullen of Centreville, Nova Scotia, in their BMW. They gained a comfortable lead on the final day over the MINI Cooper Countryman of Jon Riddell and Briar De Lange of Toronto. Third was another BMW, driven by John Hume Jr, of Toronto with navigator Mel Van Adrichem of Inkerman, Ontario.
More results at www.targanewfoundland.com/results/ .
The rally also raised substantial funds for a number of charitable causes, including the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Owned and operated by Newfoundland International Motorsports Limited, Targa Newfoundland is one of three internationally recognized Targa motorsports events in the world. The 2012 competition started in St. John’s on September 8 and concluded back in the capital on September 15. The 11th annual rally covered more than 2,000 kilometres of the challenging, twisty roads of the central and eastern portion of Newfoundland, including up to 450 kilometres of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages.
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