Imperious Quinn spears to Great Barrier Reef victory

Tony Quinn has stormed to a commanding win at the third edition of TARGA Great Barrier Reef in Cairns.

The experienced high profile Queensland businessman and co-driver Brian Foster mastered the 18-stage event to win by just over four minutes.

Quinn’s only realistic challenger, the Mercedes AMG GT R of Luke Anear and Andy Sarandis speared off on the second stage of the final day, suffering radiator damage.

While Anear rejoined the event with a patched-up Merc, it left the rapid and robust 2018 Nissan GT-R R35 with a commanding lead ahead of the final four stages of the popular tarmac rally.

Quinn was in supreme form when it counted on the final day by topping four of the six Tablelands tests to take the Outright win as well as the It’s Live in Queensland GT Outright classes.

“We just kept it nice and clean on the long stages today and the rest took care of itself,” Quinn, a two-times TARGA Tasmania winner, said.

“It is a real thrill to win TARGA Great Barrier Reef which is a great event that has a positive effect on the local community.

“The Nissan didn’t miss a beat over the three days and is really suited to the roads around Cairns.”

In an incredible outcome, the GT Trophy Class Lotus Exige of Wayne Udy and Mia Williams finished second Outright on top of easily winning their speed limited class.

Tony and Sandra Seymour were in second before their Lotus Exige stopped on the penultimate stage.

It left the remaining Outright podium position to be taken by Tablelands local Andrew Horn and Sally Coning in their 1998 Mitsubishi Evo V, a result that saw them take their Dutton Garage Early Modern 4 class.

For Quinn, who led from day one on Friday, it sealed a rare double after taking victory on the streets of Townsville’s Reid Park circuit the previous weekend in an Aston Martin.

While several of the top TARGA competitors were missing due to travel restrictions including the powerful Dodge Viper of Jason White, Quinn took full advantage by rifling through the final stages on the Tablelands.

With the Leg 2 withdrawals through mechanical issues of the Anthony Genocchio and Robert Horsfall and Jon and Gina Siddins machines, Shannons Classic GT was taken out by well-known Sunshine Coast car collector Dan Bowden.

The 1965 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 he shared with Tiffanie Hepburn landed the spoils in the popular category by more than three and a half minutes.

Shannons Classic Handicap duo of Peter Gluskie and Samantha Winter (1985 BMW 325i) were never headed to lead from the outset and win the class by just over one minute.

The Victorian pair were richly rewarded for their efforts after undertaking the mandatory quarantine process in order to take their place in the field.

Cairns builder Steve Van der Brug and co-driver Linda Rankine guided his 2009 Subaru WRX STi to victory in Cairns Regional Council GT Production by almost seven minutes over fellow Cairns competitor Murray Young and Scott Griffin (2012 BMW M3). Van der Brug was also fourth outright.

After an accident on the Millaa Milla  in their 2001 BMW M3, Darryl Marshall and co-driver Peter Marshall confirmed their standing as the masters of the points-based Cairns Regional Council TSD Trophy class.

Marshall (2002 Ford Pursuit Ute 250) built victory on minimising mistakes that limited his penalties to low single figures on each of the 18 tests.

In the end the Marshalls ended with 22 points, to beat Agim Selita and Gezim Bashi (2007 BMW M5)  who finished on 31 Points.

Tim and Kym Hall (1980 Holden Commodore) landed the honours in Shannons Thoroughbred Trophy.