In the final installment of a three-part series, Vivid Racing takes us through the final two days and across the finish line at one of the most exciting road rallies still running in North America.
After 2,200 miles of thrills, chills and spills, the 2012 running of Targa Newfoundland has come to an end. Our compatriots at Vivid Racing were there to take it all in first-hand in their Porsche 911 Turbo S, resplendent in CarBuzz livery (among other partner and sponsor logos, of course). Having driven along twisting country roads, pockmarked city streets, pouring rain and shining sun, the penultimate leg took the Vivid Racing Porsche (along with the other entries) from Clarenville along a 140-kilometer transit stage to Boat Harbour.
Along the way, our guys on the scene had to try their darnedest to stay on the honest side of their 130 km/h class speed limit despite roads that could have handled 200 km/h speeds. This was, after all, the part of the rally that infamously sent a Ferrari Enzo spinning into the Atlantic last year, so caution was called for.
That didn't keep a rally-spec Subaru from crashing into the guard rail, though. The Enzo crash hype did, however, bring out legions of fans to see this year's field romp through Marystown.
The run through Garnish packed some of the harshest conditions, including hairpin turns through single carriageways, high-speed romps down pot-holed streets and some roads that were paved only with gravel, turning this tarmac rally into a multi-surface one. And to make matters even more challenging, the stage was run a second time in reverse. The Vivid Racing team posted a solid 70 km/h average speed, which seemed like a fast time for a street-spec Porsche, until a Group N Ford Escort rally car showed up with an 89 km/h average speed, demonstrating once again that horsepower is relevant only in relation to the weight it has to pull.
The final day took the teams to Carboneau and back to St. Johns for the conclusion of this year's Targa, but not before some challenging city stages to wrap things up. The Vivid team had to race up streets barely wider than their narrow little Porsche, pull hard corners and even drift 90 degrees around houses. Even that paled in comparison to the final stage, however, that took them through a single-lane wooden bridge that sends many cars (very temporarily) airborne. After six days of some of the most exhilarating driving any pro-am driver will ever see, the Vivid Racing team crossed the finish line, driver, navigator and Turbo intact.
Which is more than could be said of the Fiat Abarth that went right through the guard-rail, just like its big-brother Ferrari had the year before, and straight into the waves. The car was a write-off but the participants were unhurt. And so concluded the 2012 Targa Newfoundland. Having participated in the non-competitive Fast Tour class, the Vivid team didn't post any official time, but after running the Gumball 3000 on 3 continents and the Bullrun down the entire East Coast of the United States, Targa has gone down, in their own words, "as one of the best experiences ever." Judging from the photos, videos and written reports, we're left with no reason to argue.