The weather continued good for Thursday. There was also little change in the standings, with the same teams in first place for each of Classic, Modern and Open. In the Grand Touring division, McDonald and Fuller slipped into third, to be replaced by MacMullen and Russell. In the Open division, Pledger and Willett also ran into difficulty, so rented a car to compete in the Grand Touring division on Friday, the last day of the rally.
While there were no accidents, there were some mechanical problems. In the Modern division, Deshaies and McKenzie’s Kia’s engine failed, causing them to withdraw.
It was still anyone’s race going into the fifth and final leg, so the first stage of the day, in Bay L’Argent, was a game-changer. At nearly 15 kilometres long, there are opportunities for passing, and several teams took advantage. The heat was definitely on by the Harbour Mile stage. Team Bartleet/Picco, in their Porsche 944, missed a sharp turn and damaged their car, leaving them unhurt but unable to continue.
Despite that, Gill and Didcock stayed in the lead and took the Classic division, being nearly 16 minutes ahead of the next team. In the Modern division, Aweida and Aweida managed to hang on to their lead, becoming the first rookie team to win a competitive division at Targa Newfoundland. Davenport and Benson took the Open division, while Riddell and DeLange took the Grand Touring, possibly the most hotly contested class, undecided until the very last stage.
I expect the contestants are already thinking about next year. And I’m thinking it’s really time I learned to drive a standard.