PORSCHE driver Jim Richards leads the 2012 Quit Targa West tarmac rally after the first two competitive stages in Perth today.
The 2007 Targa West champion, with co-driver Barry Oliver, won both 3.78 km sprints around the Whiteman Park nature reserve in their Porsche GT2 RS to take a two-second lead in the outright Competition-Modern category over local entrants Jamie Lister in a Mitsubishi Lancer and Peter Rullo in a Nissan GT-R.
Veteran Tolley Challis leads the Competition-Classic category after a win and a second stage placing in his 1974 Porsche 911 RS.
Seventy-nine cars started the eighth annual rally, which will run till Sunday.
Drivers in Classic and Modern cars will cover 215 kilometres of competition over 30 closed-road special stages.
Earlier today, crews took part in a Prologue contest over the Whiteman Park course.
The run was designed to bed-in both cars and drivers before the start of serious competition, but the occasion got the better of several drivers who left the road – with no serious consequences.
The highly-experienced Richards made a measured start.
“On our first run in the Prologue, the tyres and brakes needed to be scrubbed in, so Jim took it a bit cautiously,” co-driver Oliver said.
“We were faster the second time and followed up with good times on the first two stages.
“We’re two seconds up after the first day and we’re very happy with that.”
Tomorrow’s eight stages are in the Kalamunda Shire.
The field will be displayed for commuters from 7.30 am in Perth’s Murray Street Mall before heading out for a 4.39 km dash around the RAC Driving Centre, two runs each on the scenic Outback Constructors of Australia Zig Zig, John Forrest and Kalamunda stages and then John Forrest in the reverse direction.
Targa’s traditional Show ‘n’ Shine display will be staged from 6 pm tomorrow on James and Lake Streets, Northbridge.
RESULTS (Day One, after two stages)
1 RICHARDS/OLIVER (Porsche GT2 RS) 04 min. 23 sec.
=2 LISTER/LISTER (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) 04:25
=2 RULLO/ISEPPI (Nissan GT-R)
1 CHALLIS/FLOOD (Porsche 911 RS) 04:30
2 MOLTONI/de BOER (Porsche 911 RS) 04:31
3 GUNSON/LUNSMAN (Ford Capri Perana Replica) 04:33
1 WILKINSON/EDGAR (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) 04:44
2 SOSA/HAMERSLEY (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10) 04:49
3 PAYNE/LUNSMANN (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) 04:50
1 LAKE/LAKE (Datsun 240Z) 04:56
2 BUYS/AKSAMIJA (Porsche 911) 04:59
3 EYER/EYER (Triumph TR8 RS) 05:36
A detailed Spectator Guide, plus entry list, competition itinerary and other information is available on the event website, www.targawest.com.au