Vandenberg limps to the line to claim title

BURNIE driver Jamie Vandenberg held on after a dramatic final day to win his first Targa Tasmania Modern title after the 2014 event wrapped up yesterday.

Vandenberg, with co-driver Dennis Sims, nursed their Nissan GT-R home to victory; a chronically sick engine constantly threatening to end their run to the finish line and their dream of winning the event.

For most of the final day Matt Close was second in his Audi TT RS and ready to pounce should Vandenberg's engine fail. 

But the Victorian crashed out at  Ellendale, the event's penultimate stage, allowing the Nissan GT-R to limp to the finish line with a plume of smoke following his failing car.

Targa veteran and past winner, Tony Quinn, finished in second place, four minutes, 44 seconds behind with Brendon Winterbourn third in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10.

After a draining day, Vandenberg was delighted to get to the finish line.

``It's the biggest rollercoaster ride I've ever been on,'' Vandenberg said. 

``We thought our race was over at lunch time.

``We've never heard so many rattles in the car before and we considered pulling the pin and just cruising to the finish.

``The pressure was off a bit once Closey (Matt Close) crashed, but our engine was making some awful noises and we used 15 litres of oil today. 

``We had no idea if we were going to get there.

``It's been an emotional and stressful day.''

Canberra's Barry Faux was victorious in Classic Outright and Late Classic Handicap in his 1985 Mazda RX-7 with a brilliant drive on the final day. 

Craig Haysman lost his overnight outright lead when mechanical troubles slowed his 1981Triumph TR7. However, things went from bad to worse for the South Australian when he crashed the car on the Ellendale stage.

Peter Ullrich was also top three Classics overnight, and leading Early Classic handicap, but he had an off on the giant Arrowsmith stage. 

Roger Paterson moved to second in Outright in his 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS with Steve McClintock coming through for third in his 1985 Mazda RX-7. 

Barry Faux's major emotion at the finish was also relief.

``We feel absolutely fantastic, but we would have been more relaxed if the event finished at lunch time,'' Faux said.

``It's been a nervous last few stages for us.

``This is the hardest Targa we've ever done. We've done one which has been wetter, but this is the hardest due to the variable conditions.''

Andrew White took out the Early Classic Handicap in his 1961 Volvo 1225.

Clinton Arentz produced one of the drives of the event to take Showroom 4WD honours in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 finishing two minutes. 23 seconds clear of Launceston's Ben Newman in a Subaru WRX STI.

The 1934 Ford Indy Special of Graham Copeland won the Vintage Rallye and Glenn Rees took the Classic Florio prize in his 1985 Porsche 944.

Showroom was won easily by Andrew Bollom in his Renault Megane and Michael Minshall won the Showroom Sports in an Audi TT RS.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop