Sunday, September 21, 2008
See you at the next race
One week, two fantastic cars and teams, big victories and a whole pile of memories later, that's it for another Targa Newfoundland.
I compete now as a driver in the North American Rally Championship, while driver ACP is a top contender in both Canada and the US. We I have been to every rally North America has to offer, but Targa Newfoundland is something special. What an incredible privilege it has been for us to take part in this contest in 2008.
We raced for five days across the eastern portion of a rugged island so remote it has its own unique half-hour time zone. The people are warm and genuine, and the scenery is unbelievable. You don't even have to be good with a camera to capture the beauty - just point, and shoot -- whatever's in front of your lens is going to be amazing; even more so if you happen to capture one of the cars that's there for the race.
The Evo X is an incredibly competent car. This year saw one of the most competitive fields assembled in Targa Newfoundland's seven year history and, to stay on pace, the team's street-stock Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X saw top speeds of 200 km/h throughout the course of the event.
We ran it in Modern Standard to prove that even in street stock trim, the Evo is capable of doing battle with anything out there. On raw times, we were faster than even Audi Canada's Group B Audi Quattro, and the modified STi that Subaru Canada brought. It's hard to describe what it feels like to look up from a route book at the road ahead and realize it's coming at you at 200 km/h. And to set the times we set in a stock car are an incredible testament to the strength of the Mitsubishi product -- right out of the box.
We came out on top with a Modern division win and a third-overall podium finish. Our Evo performed flawlessly throughout the week-long event, with the team consistently clocking the fastest times of the 70-car field.
The Mitsubishi Team's second entry, a 2009 Mitsubishi Ralliart prototype driven by Mark Hacking and co-driven by John LeBlanc, also scored a strong finish in their debut outing together in the contest.
It takes a lot of teamwork to get a good result at Targa Newfoundland, and a big thanks goes out to Mitsubishi's David Sherrard, and our crew of Doug Draper, Mike "Hollywood" Johnston, Vadim Karner, Aaron Neilly and Ian Crerar who worked tirelessly to make it all happen.
Thanks also to Mitsubishi for the excellent machine, Yokohama Tires for sticking the team to the road, and Sirius Satellite Radio for keeping us entertained on the long transit breaks between competitive stages.
Now, ACP and I will return to our competitive efforts in the Canadian Rally Championship. A different kind of rally challenge -- flat out on gravel. Even so, we've got our eye on Targa 2009 -- it's going to be hard to top this result, but watch this space!
Posted byon 21/09/2008 at 8:08 PM EDT
ACP burst into the top rally ranks in 2002, earning both the Canadian Open Class title and Rookie of the Year honors. In 2006 and 2007, he was invited to appear at the X Games Rally in Los Angeles. Last year, he took second overall in the North American Rally championship.
Jen discovered rallying five years ago while writing on the topic. A previous Targa Newfoundland competitor, she now races in the Canadian Rally Championship as the driver of the only all-girl crew.
Mark is a respected automotive journalist, photographer and broadcaster. His competition experience includes solo racing, karting, and three previous finishes in Targa Newfoundland, winning his division in 2005.
John is a journalist and auto industry expert. After co-driving in his first Targa Newfoundland in 2006, John is anxious to come back this year with Mitsubishi and build on that experience.