RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) driver Luke Anear has secured an impressive victory in the Motorsport Australia TARGA Championship in North Queensland over the weekend.
Behind the wheel of a 2010 Subaru WRX STi with regular co-driver Andy Sarandis, the New South Welshman took out the 2021 TARGA Great Barrier Reef after producing a solid comeback spanning two days.
The duo didn’t get off to the ideal start as they trailed last year’s winners Tony Quinn and Ben Foster by 24 seconds at the conclusion of the first day.
Two stage wins to Quinn on the morning of day two saw the gap over Anear extended, however it didn’t phase Anear as he began his charge after a win on the tarmac rally’s ninth stage.
The stage would set the scene for the rest of the event as Anear won the remaining three stages, including one shared with Quinn, to reduce the buffer to just 11 seconds ahead of the final day.
Quinn looked to have settled his nerves with a commanding seven-second stage win at the start of the day and a shared win on the next stage, however the day’s third stage would prove the decisive factor in the outright result.
With 18 seconds the difference, a combination of a perfect stage from Anear and a disastrous outing from Quinn saw the two crews reverse positions as Anear secured a 10 second lead.
Anear then doubled his lead on the penultimate stage with a 10 second victory over Quinn, before the local Queenslander steered his 2018 Nissan GT-R to a three-second consolation win on the final stage.
After picking up his maiden major trophy since joining the championship in 2018, Anear was thrilled with the result, especially having had to replace cars just days out from the event.
“We had a red hot go and I drove the best I’ve ever ridden and we caught him (Quinn) on the Palmerston run (TS15),” Anear said.
“He wasn’t going to let me by and it was very satisfying. Then we managed to double the lead again on the next shorter stage.”
“Because the roads were damp we reckon the Subaru was the right car for the conditions.
“I’ve got to thank Ben Newman who gave me the car which was prepared by Buckby Motorsport on the proviso that ‘you go up there and win it’.”
The next event of Motorsport Australia TARGA Championship will be TARGA High Country around Mount Buller in Victoria in November.
Anear is likely to be busy before then though with the ARC’s next round of the year being the AGI Sport Adelaide Hills Rally in South Australia on 22-24 October.