Targa High Country 2015
Porsche Centre Melbourne driver Matt Close has taken his Porsche 911 GT3 to victory in the 2015 Targa High Country tarmac rally event, which also featured a strong debut for Jim Richards’ Porsche Cayman GT4.
Close and co-driver Cameron Reeves claimed victory in the prized Showroom class, winning by an impressive two-and-a-half minutes in his newly acquired 911 GT3.
The 911 GT3 set the pace in the Showroom class, finishing ahead of a McLaren 650S and Ford Mustang Shelby GT after Sunday’s afternoon’s final ascent of Mount Buller.
Equally as impressive was the performance of Richards and co-driver, Barry Oliver. The experienced duo placed fourth in the Showroom class, a mere three-and-a-half minutes from the leading 911 GT3 and less than half-a-minute from a podium result.
Richards previously campaigned a Porsche Cayman S in tarmac rallies, with the 2015 Targa High Country marking the first competitive outing for Richards in the Cayman GT4.
“The Cayman GT4 is perfectly suited to these Targa events; fast, well balanced and an incredible car to drive,” said Richards.
“To be as close to the GT3, McLaren and Mustang as we were is testament to the performance of the Cayman GT4. It does everything perfectly and is an absolute pleasure to drive on an event like this.”
Meanwhile, Close was thrilled by his impressive, and unexpected, rally win.
“The car was faultless. As a stock standard road car, which is how we raced it, it performed fantastically,” said Close.
“Taking the win actually surprised us. We certainly didn’t enter the event with the expectation, or intention, to win; rather it was a shake down for next year’s Targa Tasmania. It is such a strong and hugely competitive car that we were able to claim a convincing victory over strong competition. We came with no service crew and didn't have to work on the car all event. We didn’t even take a wheel off it.”
Close is now focused on 2016 Targa Tasmania victory after the successful debut of his 911 GT3.
“We’re going to Targa Tasmania to win. We now have a couple of hundred kilometres of competitive testing under our belt so I look forward to campaigning the 911 GT3 at the challenging Tasmanian rally.”
Porsche was also victorious in the Classic Outright classification, with Tasmanian Pete Nunn taking a convincing class win in his 1985 Porsche 944 Turbo.
Porsche’s presence at the Victorian event was strengthened by the addition of 36 customer cars participating in the Porsche Tour.
The customer programme allowed Porsche owners to drive on the closed roads of Targa High Country ahead of each competition stage in their own road-going sports cars. The wide range of customer Porsches in the Tour included the Macan, Cayenne, Boxster, Cayman and 911 models – including the very same 911 GT3 model that won the competitive tarmac rally.
Targa High Country, final results
Mount Buller Showroom
1. Matt Close/Cameron Reeves, 2015 Porsche 911 GT3
2. Tony Quinn/Kate Catford, 2014 McLaren 650S, +2m32s
3. Craig Dean/Emma Quigley, 2015 Ford Mustang Shelby GT, +3m08s
4. Jim Richards/Barry Oliver, 2015 Porsche Cayman GT4, +3m36s
5. Ben Newman/Tim Kulhanek, 2012 Renault Megane, +8m53s