Lotus wins Targa Tasmania

Paul Stokell and Kate Catford win Targa Tasmania 2019. Paul and Kate drove their Exige Sport 350 to 1st place Outright and 1st in GT2. Jeff Morton and Daymon Nicolli also driving an Exige Sport 350 finished 3rd in the same class giving Lotus 1st and 3rd place in the GT2 class and 1st and 4th Outright for the event.

Although Paul won the maiden CAMS Australian Targa Championship last year through consistent results, this stands as his first Targa event win. It is also the first outright victory for his experienced co-driver Kate Catford who was calling the pace notes for Stokell for only the second time. The win was also the first for the Lotus brand at the 28th running of the Tasmanian rally which covered 33 special stages and a total distance of more than 2000 km, spanning the length and breadth of Tasmania.

“I’ve always called Targa Tasmania the hardest event I’ve ever done,” said Stokell, who won the Australian Driver’s Championship three times during the 1990s and the Australian Nations Cup title twice.

“It’s the most challenging and the most individual thing because you are out there on your own. The conditions we had – we went from icy roads that were so slippery that you could hardly stay on them to high grip, high-speed stuff and you’ve got to adapt pretty quickly… this means a lot.”

Co-driver Catford put in an extraordinary performance given the extreme conditions, maintaining composure to help Stokell deliver a remarkable drive. “This is very special, and it has long been a dream of mine,” Catford said. “Sometimes you think it’s an unrealistic dream, so I’m really excited to win Targa Tasmania. “In the wet conditions, it took a lot of focus to get through safely.”

Queensland-based former Tasmanian Stokell took over the lead on Day 4 and built a cushion of more than two minutes on Day 5 through skilfully negotiating the tricky wet stages leaving Strahan.

The win at Tasmania gives Stokell a total of 163 points and moves his Lotus Exige Sport 350 into the number one position on the CAMS Australian Targa Championship points standing. Now 32 points ahead of the John Ireland in his 2017 Dodge Viper and 63 points ahead of the Jason White also in a Dodge Viper.  Behind this is the Nissan GT-R R35 on 90 points and Matt Close’s 2017 Porsche GT3 RS on 85 points.

Jeff Morton and Daymon Nicoli’s 3rd place in GT2 exceeded their expectations.  Despite having won the Rookie GT class in 2018, Jeff said “It’s been a massive week that has culminated in a result that is way beyond anything Daymon or I could ever have dreamed of”.

The success continued for Lotus in the GT Sports Trophy Class, having a podium lockout with the Exige Sport 350’s taking 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place. 

Steve Sher and Fergal Murphy, competing in their first Targa finished in 1st place after a stellar display of consistent fast driving.

2nd place went to father-son combination of Mitch and Darryl Ringuet who had to fight hard after receiving a time penalty on the second stage of day one that put them back in 9th place.

In another demonstration of perseverance, Tony and Sandra Seymour hunted down the Subaru WRX with only four stages left in the rally and survived a flat tyre scare on the second last stage to finish a credible 3rd.

The Time Speed Distance (TSD) class saw father-son duo Peter and Tristan Taylor, in their Lotus Elise S, finish 2nd behind Targa TSD veterans Darryl and Peter Marshall. The Taylor’s battled it out all week against the Marshall’s and the final margin was 4 points, which equates to a difference of 0.4 km/h average speed difference between the two teams after 483 Km of competitive racing. Fellow Lotus team members Rob Bryden and Ian Noble driving an Exige 380 Cup put in a massive effort to finish 5th and continue their form from Targa North West.

After Targa Tasmanian the Taylor’s are leading the TSD Championship points standing on 160 points, Rob Bryden holds 2nd place on 139 points and the Marshall’s on 100 points.

With Tasmania being the toughest and longest event in the 4-round championship and making up most of the competitive kilometres, Lotus teams are sitting in strong positions across all three classes and in the outright standings. There is still a long way to go with Targa Great Barrier Reef being the next round in Cairns, Far North Queensland at the end of August.

Lotus Cars Australia send a massive congratulations to all Lotus teams on the outstanding results across the board.

Lotus Results at Targa Tasmania 2019

Outright overall

1st – Paul Stokell and Kate Catford – Lotus Exige 350 Sport

4th – Jeff Morton and Daymon Nicolli – Lotus Exige 350 Sport

GT2 Class

1st – Paul Stokell and Kate Catford – Lotus Exige 350 Sport

3rd – Jeff Morton and Daymon Nicolli – Lotus Exige 350 Sport

GT Sports Trophy class – LOTUS podium lockout

1st Steve Sher and Fergal Murphy – Lotus Exige 350 Sport

2nd Mitch and Darryl Ringuet – Lotus Exige 350 Sport

3rd Tony and Sandra Seymour – Lotus Exige 350 Sport

5th Marin Duursma and Richard Wodhams –Lotus Exige Cup 430

8th John Culvenor and Barrier Fitchett – Lotus Elise

Time Speed Distance Trophy Class

2nd Peter and Tristan Taylor – Lotus Elise S

5th Rob Bryden and Ian Noble – Lotus Exige 380 CUP

2019 CAMS Australian Targa Championship

Consists of 4 rounds of competition:

Round 1: Targa North West, 16 – 17th of Feb 2019

Round 2: Targa Tasmania, 29th April – 4th May 2019

Round 3: Targa Great Barrier Reef (GBR), 30th August – 1st September 2019

Round 4: Targa High Country, 8 – 10th of Nov 2019

After Round 2 – Targa Tasmanian, Lotus Teams are leading four championship classes. Targa Tasmania is the longest and toughest of the rallies challenging teams to the maximum extent.  At this stage, Lotus teams are in good standing for the remaining two rounds, Targa GBR and High Country.

2019 CAMS Australian Targa Championship Points Table after Round Two

MODERN OUTRIGHT

 Pos. Driver State Co-Driver State Vehicle Points
1 Paul Stokell QLD Kate Catford SA 2014 Lotus Exige Sport 350 163
2 John Island NSW Janet Binns NSW 2017 Dodge Viper ACR EXTREME 131
3 Jason White TAS John White TAS 2016 Dodge Viper ACR EXTREME 100
4 Angus Kennard NSW Ian Wheeler TAS 2015 Nissan GT-R R35 90
5 Matt Close VIC Cameron Reeves QLD 2017 Porsche GT3 RS 85
6 Jeff Morton NSW Daymon Nicoli WA 2017 Lotus Exige Sport 350 80

GT2 Class

 Pos. Driver State Co-Driver State Vehicle Points
1 Paul Stokell QLD Kate Catford SA 2014 Lotus Exige Sport 350 163
2 John Ireland NSW Janet Binns NSW 2017 Dodge Viper ACR EXTREME 136
3 Jason White TAS John White TAS 2016 Dodge Viper ACR EXTREME 130
4 Ben Manion TAS Michael Mohr SA 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 110
5 Craig Dean VIC Mary Hughes TAS 2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 91
6 Matt Close VIC Cameron Reeves QLD 2017 Porsche GT3 RS 90
7 Jeff Morton NSW Daymon Nicoli WA 2017 Lotus Exige Sports 350 85

GT Sports Trophy Class

 Pos. Driver State Co-Driver State Vehicle Points
1 Antony Seymour QLD Sandra Seymour QLD 2013 Lotus Exige Sport 350 155
2 Mitchell Ringuet QLD Darryl Ringuet QLD 2017 Lotus Exige Sport 350 149
3 Anthony Grace QLD Craig Jones QLD 2014 Subaru Impreza WRX STi 143
4 Steven Sher NSW Fergal Murphy NSW 2016 Lotus Exige Sport 350 100
5 Martin Duursma NSW Richard Wodhams NSW 2018 Lotus Exige Cup 430 75

TSD Trophy Class

 Pos. Driver State Co-Driver State Vehicle Points
1 Peter Taylor NSW Tristan Taylor NSW 2013 Lotus Elise S 160
2 Robert Bryden NSW Ian Noble NSW 2017 Lotus Exige 380 Cup 139
3 Darryl Marshall QLD Peter Marshall QLD 2002 Ford Falcon Ute Pursuit 250 100
4 Steve Brumby NSW Heather Brumby NSW 1999 Alfa Romeo GTV 85
5 Christopher Waldock SA Christine Kirby SA 2016 Jaguar F-Type SVR AWD 75

About Targa Tasmania

Targa Tasmania is a world class international motorsport event, and is one the world’s largest, longest and most gruelling tarmac rally events.  2019 was the 28th annual running of the rally held over 6 days and offering 33 competitive stages. 

This is a tarmac rally that travels over 2000 kms in total and challenges teams not only in competitive rally driving, but also the logistics and management of their team having to move through three different locations during the weeklong event.

Targa Tasmania’s heritage comes from a passionate history dating back to 1906 in Sicily, where the inaugural “Targa Florio” was unveiled. Targa Florio took its name from organizer Vincenzo Florio. Each winner was presented with a plate bearing the Florio family crest. The Italian word for plate is “Targa”, hence the name, “Targa”. While Targa Florio is no longer a competitive race, every year a pilgrimage still takes place driving the Sicilian Course.

The Targa Australia competition also draws concepts directly from the best features of the Mille Miglia, the Coupe des Alpes and the Tour de Corse to create the world’s largest Tarmac Rally with a cross section of marvellously restored classic vehicles as well as the latest in grand touring and sports vehicles.