There was a new look to the Targa New Zealand podium this year as Dunedin duo Martin Dippie and Jona Grant (Porsche GT3 RS) claimed the overall and Instra.com Modern 2WD wins and Auckland pair David Rogers and Aidan Kelly (Mitsubishi Evo 10) won the Allcomers 4WD class.
Heading into the fourth and final day of the annual multi-day tarmac motor rally event in the Hawke's Bay, Rangitikei and Central Plateau today, the Allcomers 4WD class - traditionally the home of the overall event winner - was being led by Aucklander Jason Gill and his co-driver Mark Robinson in their Mitsubishi Evo 9 with Rogers and Kelly second and gravel ace Brian Green and his co-driver Fleur Pedersen third in their Mitsubishi Evo 10.
However Gill's Mitsubishi ground to a halt with a blown engine in Sunday's first stage near Havelock North leaving Rogers - an Auckland radiologist who contested his first Targa event in 2010 - to claim his first major win in the Allcomers 4WD class and finish second overall to Instra.com 2WD class winners Dippie and Grant.
"We are not as fast as some," Rogers said afterwards, " but to finish first, first you have to finish and I just don't think the machinery can take people running full pace in an event as tough as this all the time. And you have to be up there for when that happens."
Having finished third behind Clark Proctor and new co-driver Sue O'Neil (Nissan GT-R35) and Glenn Inkster and Spencer Winn (Mitsubishi Evo 8) on the first day, Gill and Robinson were in the box seat when Proctor and O'Neill rolled out of the event on the first stage of the second day and Inkster and Winn were slowed by an engine misfire.
However having competed in Targa events for the past 10 years Auckland car dealer Gill accepted his fate with good grace.
"That's motor racing," he said. "It was just one of those things. It's a great event and we'll be back."
Having been forced to sit out last year's event after breaking some ribs when he fell off his Mountain Bike, Dunedin businessman Martin Dippie and friend and first time Targa co-driver Jona Grant could hardly have had a better event return, dominating the Instra.com Modern 2WD class from the first day and taking over the role of overall event pace-setter when Gill and Robinson retired.
This was also the first year in the past seven that the overall win has gone to a two-wheel-drive car, something which even Dippie wasn't expecting.
"The plan was to win the class, the overall was a bit of a surprise," he said.
This year's event was Dippie's fifth in his distinctive orange Porsche GT3 RS and his plan was 'to go out with the leaders at the start and be there if they have any problems."
Also impressing in the Instra.com Modern 2WD class was Steven Kirk-Burnnand and co-driving Australian cousin Elliott who worked their way up to second in Instra.com Modern 2WD in Steven's newly built BMW Compact.
In Metalman Classic 2WD, meanwhile, Steven's father Barry Kirk-Burnnand and Dave O'Carroll (BMW M3) successfully defended their 2012 event win, despite on-going pressure from Foxton duo Bevan Claridge and Jason Easton who claimed their second class stage win of the event in their Holden Commodore V8, Wanganui event regulars Peter Cullen and Craig Strachan in their exotic De Tomaso Pantera and one of the other Kirk-Burnnand crews in the event, Aucklander Carl and his co-driver Sam Gordon (BMW 325i).
Wellington brothers Angus and Euan Howden were also quick in their BMW M325i but ran off the road in the first stage today and running out of time to get back into the event to contest the second and third.
This year's Targa NZ event started in Auckland (at the Dotcom Mansion) on Thursday and ended at Taupo's Ricoh Motorsport Park this afternoon.
The event was organised with the support of sponsors Federal motorsport tyres, Instra Corporation, Metalman, NZ Classic Car magazine, TeamTalk, TrackIt and VTNZ.
Targa New Zealand 2013 Results
1. Martin Dippie/Jona Grant (2007 Porsche GT3 RS) 04:54.19
2. David Rogers/Aidan Kelly (2009 Mitsubishi Evo X RS) 04:59:17
3 Brian Green/Fleur Pedersen 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X RS) 05:00:05
4. Steven Kirk-Burnnand/Elliot Kirk Burnnand (1997 BMW E36 Compact) 05:01:16
5. Gary Murphy/James Bell (1993 BMW M3) 05:01:18
6. Barry Kirk-Burnnand/Dave O'Carroll (BMW M3) 5:02.03
2. Green/Fleur Pedersen
Metalman Classic 2WD
1. Barry Kirk-Burnnand/Dave O'Carroll(1989 BMW M3) 05:02:30
2. Bevan Claridge/Jason Easton (1992 Holden Commodore) 05:05:10
3. Carl Kirk-Burnnand/Sam Gordon (1991 BMW 325i) 05:06:34
2. Steven Kirk-Burnnand/Elliot Kirk Burnnand