|September 16, 2011 - The Harbour Grace stage had already been canceled for undisclosed reasons, so we started the day just after lunch on the tight Carbonear stage.|
Thanks to the canceled stages, we were at lunch very early. So we took the opportunity to take a quick tour of the stage, enough to get our bearings and program my memory. It's got some tight spots, so we're glad we did. The first run was in the dry and listed as Condition 1, but by the end we had our wipers on. Still, we were the fastest of the Open Class cars. Everyone took significant penalties. There was one exciting moment where an unmarked crest in the road turned out to be a mid-corner jump. We dealt with it, but it did add a bit of drama.
For the second run, conditions had degraded. And then it got ugly. Really ugly. About the time we hit the first turn, the hurricane arrived. Visibility dropped to near zero. I had to identify turns by spotting landmarks, such as a mailbox just on the inside of a tight left corner that I could use as an apex marker. All the way through, I just kept thinking "bring it home". Speed was not important. By the end, we took a massive 1:39 in penalties, nearly a full minute longer than our last run. The cars running earlier in the pack weren't affected, and cars that had been 30 seconds slower than us were 30 seconds faster thanks to the weather change.
After that, we moved on to Brigus. This is another of the classics, and we get to run it twice this year. The first time, we were informed that we were running in Condition 3. We were warned of standing water, poor visibility and dangerous turns. This in a stage that is very narrow to begin with. So we tip-toed through the course cautiously. Still, I somehow found space to hit 100 km/h. On the second run through, we were told that we were in Condition Targa. This means the Targa time (40% slower than base time) was our base time. In other words, real slow. We easily zeroed that one as we were actually faster due to improved conditions over the previous run.
And that was it. Targa 2011 was over. We lined up in a big Targa jam and tried to parade in to St. John's for the ceremonial finish. We did manage to get all the Miatas in line together, and managed to cross the line just as the PA system went down. Kinda summed up the day, really.
tags: targa, 2011 race, exotics, tuning