Alex Rullo and Will White fastest at Auto One Targa Albany Sprint

Thousands of spectators lined the streets of Albany at Middleton Beach for the second day of the 2021 Auto One Targa Albany Sprint which was expanded this year from one day and one sprint to two days and three sprints.
On Sunday, there were two race lengths at the Auto One Targa Quaranup Sprint; a 2.11-kilometre speed event (driver only) or a 4.5-kilometre course up to the historic Camp Quaranup (a rallysprint requiring driver and co-driver and full safety set up).
Fastest along the 2.11-kilometre Auto One Targa Quaranup Sprint with a blistering time of 54.78 seconds was 20-year-old former V8 Supercar racer Alex Rullo in a 2014 Lamborghini Gallardo. 
Rullo was over 5 seconds quicker than Matt James-Wallace in a 1993 Nissan Skyline R32 who recorded a time of 1:00.13 minutes. Third fastest was Nigel Ball in an Electric Vehicle (EV), a 2019 Tesla Model 3D+ with a time of 1:00.94.
Fastest on the 4.5-kilometre Rallysprint was Will White / Matt Thompson in a 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 with an aggregate time after three runs of 5:32.71 minutes, 2 seconds faster than Steve Jones / Jacob Zurzolo in their 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. 
Rounding out the overall top three of the Rallysprint, some 10 seconds behind the winners, was reigning Targa West title holder Mark Greenham / Steph Esterbauer in their 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. 
The main event, the Auto One Targa Albany Sprint, a challenging 2.8-kilometre course from the Hybla Tavern at Middleton Beach to the Anzac Centre on Mt Adelaide, was won by Alex Rullo a 2014 Lamborghini Gallardo with his fastest run clocking a time of 1:28.19 minutes. Rullo taking two wins from two races in Albany.
His father Peter Rullo raced the same course in the same car and his fastest time was 1:35.13 minutes, which placed him in third outright. 
In second place was Steve Jones 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, his fastest run was 1:31.44.
The rally wasn’t without challenges. 
Alex Rullo reported that the team almost didn’t make the start line.
“We had some serious issues – on Thursday (before the event), we almost pulled out, there were so many things going on with the car, things we didn’t realise and things that happen when it sits in storage for four or five years,” Gooseberry Hill resident Rullo said.

Alex Rullo in wining form. Credit: BR Media

“There was a lot of hard work and late nights to get it running, and when we did, we didn’t expect that we’d have reliability and speed – it was great to reward the boys with a functioning and winning car.
“On Sunday (the 2.11km speed event), I focussed on getting comfortable with the car. At Middleton Beach (on Monday), I had the car on the rails, each run pushing a little harder. I knew where I could make up time after each run and I focussed on that. I tried to get under 1:30 minutes and was pretty happy that I was able to do that.”
Rullo shaved 6 seconds off his time between his first run to his final and fastest run. 
Rullo said that the Lamborghini was built as a GT3 circuit car, not designed to be stationary for periods of time and thus not fitted with cooling radiator fans. Which explains the use of two leaf blowers to keep the engine cool. 
“We also had an electrical issue in terms of starting the car, so we had to keep it running, and keep it cool,” the 2019 Bathurst racer said. 
“The event was pretty awesome, and the Sunday stages were high speed, really challenging, really enjoyable. All the Targa West events are enjoyable with a great vibe from everyone from organisers, officials and competitors. It’s fun weekend away.”
Will White had his share of issues too, a failing clutch on the last section of the Rallysprint on Sunday exploded, smashing the bell housing on the Evo 9’s gearbox.
“I was able to get the Evo across the line and take the win, which I’m absolutely thrilled about. It was an awesome event,” said the Dardanup local.

“Luckily my wife made a last-minute decision to come to Albany and we thought, we might as well race the Toyota Yaris! We wacked the Evo wheels on it, swapped the stickers over, installed a fire extinguisher and raced that on Monday.”
White said that he’d originally bought the 2020 Yaris GR as a development car for rallying but hadn’t yet built it. He finished the Middleton Beach rally in 32nd place.
“I’ve hardly driven the Yaris and didn’t want to hurt the car, but every time I put my foot down, every single warning light flashed and the thing was beeping at me ‘imminent crash’. 
“After the first run, other drivers were having a yarn, and there I was with the instruction manual trying to find how to turn off all the warning bells!
“It was a good fun event with fantastic pieces of road, technical and high speed in the first part and a left entry into a right-hander, a double apex, a couple of blind crests – the whole skill of what we do coming into play.
“Matt my co-driver called good notes and I had my road position correct, which was crucial, any mistakes would bite you. 
“It was awesome to see spectator points packed, so many people out enjoying the rally. We stayed an extra day in Albany to enjoy the region.”
The fastest local at the Middleton Beach main event was Glenn Badger in his 1980 Ford Escort Mark 2, finishing overall in 16th place with a time of 1:43.39. 
“I loved the event, it was fantastic to compete on roads where I live, especially Camp Quaranup, I’ve been wanting to do an event there for ages,” Badger said.
“The Escort went well, the fuel pump was close to dying on Sunday, so we put in a new one for Monday and the car was great. It was the driver who needed to get his act together!” 
Auto One Targa Albany Sprint event director Ross Tapper OAM said the Amazing South Coast is a popular destination with the competitors. 
“Everyone’s happy and the new Quaranup stage was a big hit with competitors, and they love coming to Albany,” Tapper said. 
“The event ran smoothly, we had huge crowds on Monday with plenty of people in the Service Park trying to win the tool box Auto One was giving away.”
Ramon Panizza, Auto One Albany partner, sponsor and a competitor in a 1976 Ford Escort Mark 2 finished in 39th place posting time of 1:49.54.
“It is a privilege for Auto One to be associated with such a great team as Targa West,” Panizza said. 
“We also created history on Saturday being the first Targa Rallysprint in the Great Southern. 
“We thoroughly enjoyed being amongst the passionate drivers, volunteers and race fans and I cannot think of another event that attracts such a massive range of vehicles, from 1938 models to current 2021 EVs.”
There were about 100 competitors in all manner of cars competing in the Auto One Targa Albany Sprint, delighting thousands of spectators who attended the free event. 
Spectators at Middleton Beach also enjoyed the RAAF flypast and aerobatics, a celebration of their 100thanniversary. 
Auto One Targa Albany Sprint is run under the auspices of Motorsport Australia. 

Results can be found at

White hot and on top at Targa Albany Sprint

Will White in his 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 won the Targa Albany Sprint on Monday (2nd March) in front of thousands of spectators who lined the streets to watch 88 classic and modern cars race the clock along the 2.8-kilometre hill climb course.

The Motorsport Australia sanctioned Targa Albany Sprint course is a single stage that is run five times for drivers only without co-drivers with the fastest run determining the winner (as opposed to the fastest accumulated time).

White clocked the fastest time on the second of his five runs with an untouchable 1:37.43 minutes, 3.42 seconds quicker than his nearest rival, Denver Parker in his 1993 Nissan Skyline R33.

Third place was tied between Dennis Heller in his 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8MR and Mark Greenham in his 2006 Mitsubishi Evo 9 who both scored times of 1:41.46 minutes.

Photography – David Turk from &

White’s car has been a podium finisher multiple times at Targa South West and Targa West events and he said adjustments were made prior to Albany to make the car more competitive.

Photography – David Turk from &

“We modified the turbo and manifold and changed the doors to make the car lighter and faster,” White from Dardanup said.

“The course was fast and technical, and I liked that all the chicanes were different configurations and different lengths because it made you think what you had to do going into each one.

Photography – David Turk from &

“I used the first run to find my feet. On the second run, I got a good line and that’s when I clocked my fastest time, which was lucky because in the third run the clutch got fried. During the fourth and fifth runs, the clutch was slipping and couldn’t go full throttle.

“I didn’t start the Targa Albany Sprint expecting to win so I’m absolutely ecstatic!

“There were families and kids and massive crowds everywhere, it was great. The event was well run, and I’d like to thank event organisers and the City of Albany for their support. The event was awesome, ten out of ten,” White enthused.

Second placed Denver Parker said he finished one better than last year.

“The course had new elements to it this year which made it exciting,” said Parker, a resident of Aveley.

Photography – David Turk from &

“It almost didn’t happen for me – on the first run there was gravel, then there were some red flags which wasn’t ideal and then I mucked up a couple of gear changes, but in the last run it all came together.”

Parker said his Nissan Skyline would be retired for a while as he concentrates on doing two 24-hour endurance races at Silverstone (UK) and Spa (Belgium).

Finishing in seventh place outright with 1:43.17 minutes was the event’s only electric car, the brand new 2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance+ piloted by Jurgen Lunsmann.

All eyes were on Lunsmann after the first run when he surprised the competition by clocking the second fastest time.

Lunsmann said that it was satisfying to be challenging for outright places.

“It’s nice to see all our years of building coming to fruition,” said Lunsmann from Bayswater.

“In the right type of events, the Tesla EV is outright competitive – this is the first time we modified our EV, and by modify, I mean we put R-spec tyres on it and that’s it. I drove home with air conditioning, a stereo and cruise control.”

Lunsmann said that the team’s goal is to normalise electric cars in motorsport.

“Monday to Friday the EV is a clean, lean, green machine, but on the weekend, it’s a truckload of fun!”

Photography – David Turk from &

The fastest pre-1986 classic competitor was Simon Gunson of Bibra Lake in his 1970 Ford Capri, finishing ninth outright with a time of 1:45.63.

The fastest Albany local was electrician and dog kennel owner Glenn Badger who finished in 17th place outright in his classic 1980 Ford Escort MK2.

“It’s not everyday you get to go as fast as you can up the hill in your own backyard – usually I have to travel 400 kilometres or more to compete in events like this,” Badger said.

Photography – David Turk from &

“I love the event, it was so much fun and I’d like to make a special thanks to officials and volunteers, without them we wouldn’t be able to do this.”

The youngest competitor at just 16 years of age was Cam Puzey, a Year 12 student at Eastern Hills Senior High who finished in 22nd place in his 1989 Subaru Legacy RS.

Puzey started racing in the Shannons Targa Rallysprint series last year.

“I’m still on my L-Plates, I don’t turn 17 until the end of June,” the Glenforest teenager said.

“It was my first hill climb, and it was awesome, such great fun and a huge adrenalin rush.

“It was especially cool to do it in a car that I built myself – I put in the roll cage and worked a lot of hours on the car to get to the event, I’ve learnt a lot of those skills from my dad and I’m lucky that I have access to the tools and gear I need to build the car.

“I had an issue on the fourth run losing a gear selector bushing, which meant I had to almost stop on the stage to find a gear.

Photography – David Turk from &

“Luckily, I was able to fix it before the fifth run with a bit of metal I found in the back of the truck, like a bush-mechanic. The final run is when it all came together for me and I clocked my fastest time.”

Targa Albany Sprint event director Ross Tapper said that the rallysprint was a huge success.

“There’s a real appetite for this event and we can’t wait to come back next year to run the 2021 Targa Albany Sprint,” Tapper said.



Photos: Thanks to David Turk from &

Amazing backdrop for Targa Albany Sprint

The City of Albany on the Amazing South Coast of Western Australia will roar to life on Monday, 2nd March 2020 as 100 classic and modern cars race the clock at the Targa Albany Sprint hill climb challenge.
The 2.8-kilometre road course from Hybla Tavern at Middleton Beach up the hillside challenges drivers with corners, four chicanes and could be guilty of distracting them with some of The Great Southern’s most stunning backdrops.
The Targa Albany Sprint will consist of a single run over one stage, traversed five times giving a total competitive distance of approximately 14 kilometres.

Similar to a Rallysprint, but only for drivers without co-drivers, and run under the auspices of Motorsport Australia (formerly CAMS), the winner of the Targa Albany Sprint is the fastest run from the bottom of the hill to the top, as opposed to the fastest accumulated time.
Targa Albany Sprint attracts all kinds of cars including a 1938 Ford Pickup, 1953 Jaguar XK 120 Coupe, 1963 Studebaker Lark, 1971 BMW, 1973 Chevrolet CanAm, 1976 Datsun 260Z, 1978 Leyland Mini, 1981 Holden Commodore, 2008 Dodge Viper, 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo, 2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance electric car, as well as a large array of models from Holden, Ford, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Subaru, Toyota, Mazda and more.
Targa Albany Sprint event director Ross Tapper said Targa Events was excited to take over the running of the event after Racewars ran the inaugural event last year.
“We have a great mixture of Targa, Racewars and local Albany cars, from old to new that will make it a fun and exciting day of hill climb racing,” Mr Tapper said.

“And there couldn’t be a better location for the event than Middleton Beach and the iconic view from Mt Adelaide.
“We limit entry to 100 discerning cars and it’s totally free for spectators. It’s a competitor favourite and great for spectators who want more action during the March long weekend.
“There will be plenty to see for everyone, including cars on display and the Shannons Super Rig.”
The pit area is free and open for spectators to mingle with the competitors and get up close and personal with the cars and crews. There are a number of fantastic locations to watch the rally action including the fast uphill straight along Marine Drive, accessible from the Boardwalk.
Racing is set to start at 9am and finish at 3pm. Check for details.
Competitors are racing for title honours and glory with trophies awarded to the top three and category winners at the Hybla after the event. Everyone’s welcome.

Photos: Ash Westwood

Targa Albany Sprint

  • Monday 2nd March 2020, 9am – 4pm
  • Hill climb sprint, 2.8km course run five times
  • 100 classic and modern cars
  • Held in Albany on the Amazing South Coast, WA