Major takes third straight Targa West victory

Speedcafe.com

Monday 14th August, 2017 - 11:00am

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Peter Major pic: CMR Photographic

Peter Major has won the Targa West rally for the third straight year after leading at the end of every stage of the four-day event.

Peter Rullo and Will White made up the podium, the former recovering from a setback on Day 2 but not making up enough ground in the final two days to seriously threaten for victory.

Major and co-driver Ben Searcy were fastest in every single stage on Day 1 in their 2004 Porsche 996 and held a 57s lead by the end of Day 2 after Rullo struck trouble.

Rullo had run only eight seconds off the lead after the opening day but lost another 51s relative to Major, and allowed Robert Slater to sneak into second overall, when he glanced a tree in his 2012 Nissan GTR.

With the big advantage in hand, Major took a conservative approach to a wet Day 3 given that he was driving without ABS.

He finished the final overnight stop with a 29s lead over Rullo, who took an aggressive approach in the patched-up GTR.

However, Slater fell out of contention when his 1999 Porsche GT3’s windscreen wipers failed, causing an off which damaged the radiator and cost him nearly 11 minutes.

That put White third in his 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, more than a minute adrift of Rullo.

On the final day, taking in Malaga and the City, Rullo could only chip another five seconds out of Major’s lead, giving the former Western Australia Formula Ford champion his third straight Targa West crown.

“I’m really happy and I’m stoked to be going out on a high,” said Major, who will not defend his title due to business and family commitments and other motorsport.

“It feels awesome, there’s been lots of emotion with this rally – lots of changing conditions and we’ve had issues with no ABS, aquaplaning on the wet stages and a few other niggling things we’ve had to nurse most of the rally – so it’s good to finish.”

Behind second-placed Rullo was White, 1:29s off the lead outright and in the Competition Modern class.

Competition Classic went to Mick Bray in his 1975 Holden Torana, Challenge Modern to Sharon Gunson in a 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7, and Challenge Classis to Justan Gan in a 1978 Porsche 911SC.