Sweet victory on the tarmac
Simon Gunson and Jurgen Lunsmann race their 1971 Ford Capri Perana Replica.

It might have taken them three years but good mates Simon Gunson and Jurgen Lunsmann now have the cherished silverware in the boot as they celebrated victory in the 10th anniversary of WA's premier tarmac rally, the Quit Targa West.

It was quite a while before the pair managed to wipe the beaming smiles off their dials last weekend. The outright win in the competition classic category was sweet indeed.

Driving a classy little 1971 Ford Capri Perana Replica, they were consistently quickest throughout a tough four days, establishing an ever-widening gap between them and last year's winners, Mark Dobson and Greg Butcher.

Taking the lead on day one in the first stage at Whiteman Park on Thursday, they were never headed. A hefty two-minute-plus advantage into the run home in Malaga and along Riverside Drive on Sunday meant they could take a less-aggressive approach.

All they had to do was finish.

"It made for a very enjoyable last day," Gunson said.

"We really didn't have any pressure on us, so we enjoyed the run and put on a bit of a show for the spectators."

Their previous two QTW campaigns were plagued by mechanical issues. They were leading the category last year before engine problems descended.

It was particularly gruelling as they could have shared the podium with their better halves, Sharon Gunson and Helen Lunsmann, who took out the 2013 trophy for challenge modern.

But the lads reckoned it was well worth the wait.

"We were both rapt to be standing on the podium," Gunson said.

"We had a few issues throughout the rally but we have the best service team and they kept us going for the four days."

Defending champion Dobson had no option but to nurse his Triumph TR 7 V8 to the line after a mishap on the opening day which took out first gear.

Simon and Susannah Lingford, driving a 1973 Datsun 240Z, again showed fine mettle, adding a third place to their second last year.

Razvan Vlad made amends for his previous disappointment when he lost the lead on the last day, with a solid head-to-tail victory in challenge modern.

He and Daymon Nicoli were consistent and fast over the journey in their Ford Fiesta S and finished well ahead of husband- and-wife team Angela and Davyd Hooper, who swapped seats in the Ford Focus XR5 for QTW.

Rob Buys and Sanja Aksamija were another team who had the advantage of being able to nurse their car through Sunday's penultimate stage.

With a handsome lead in challenge classic, Buys - renowned for his seat-of-the-pants driving style - simply wanted to finish to make up for receiving the runners-up trophy for the past two years.

First-time competitor Mark Greenham, driving a Mitsubishi Evo with Steph Leach in the newly added rookie rallye category, recorded the fastest time overall in seven stages, including all three at Malaga on Sunday and the first stage in the city.

But the dual McRae Motorsport Rallysprint Series star's debut came to an inglorious end in the dying stages when a barrier got in his way. That suited Adrian Stefan and Allan Matthewson, who won the category.

Rookie rallye is designed to give newcomers a taste of the excitement without having to commit to the full four days.

Two-time comp modern winners Jim Richards and Barry Oliver decided on a new Porsche Cayman S this year and seemed to miss the extra 300bp their previous GT3 beast kicked out.

But there is no classier team in rallying and they managed to get plenty of air under the Cayman on the opening stage at Whiteman Park, as they flew over a speed bump. They rarely go home empty-handed, winning the modern showroom sportscar class.

The West Australian

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