TARGA TASMANIA TARMAC RALLY - Friday, April 20
Launceston to Launceston: 8 stages
Touring car legend Peter Brock is rushing a new differential to Launceston overnight from Melbourne in a desperate bid to reignite his assault on the 10th anniversary Targa Tasmania tarmac rally.
The nine-times Bathurst 1000 champion said he hoped that fitting a replacement differential in his V8 Holden Ute would solve the problems which contributed to him falling from 10th to 16th position in today's eight stages in the north-east of Tasmania.
Brock, whose son James is navigating in the Ute, goes into tomorrow's 10-stage leg in the north-west region of the State trailing rally leader and defending champion Jim Richards by 3-mins 51-secs in penalty time.
"The limited slip-diff isn't working in the hilly country so it's wheelspin city," said Brock. "It's costing us a lot of time, up to a second every kilometre. We're hoping the new 'diff' fixes the problem and we can find that little bit we're missing. We also need to re-program the engine management system for the high octane fuel we're running."
With four days remaining in the rally, Richards leads with a penalty time of 4-mins 18-secs in the four-wheel-drive Porsche 911 turbo he is sharing with Tasmania's Barry Oliver. He began today with a lead of 27-secs and finished with an advantage of 1-min 32-secs ahead of Queensland's Tony Quinn, who is second in a Porsche. Port Macquarie's Andrew Miedecke is third in a Dodge Viper.
Richards said he was pleased with the performance of his Porsche through the opening stage of the day, 'The Sideling', over a 14.14km course.
"Our car suited 'The Sideling' and we managed to put a gap on the others," said Richards. "We seem to be quick in the hilly stages. The plan for the next couple of days is more of the same. At the moment we're in front, but we're not over-confident because you never know what trouble you might run into."
Victorian Peter Fitzgerald, the 1999 Targa winner who was second to Richards yesterday, dropped out of contention when clutch problems forced him to retire after the fourth stage today. He will attempt to rejoin the event tomorrow.
"We burnt out the clutch so we're out of the running this year," he said.
Quinn, winner of this year's Lactos-Heritage Rally, said he aimed to be as consistent as possible to apply pressure on Richards.
"We're up there and that's all we can do," said Quinn. "Jim (Richards) is running a four-wheel-drive car - he has his speed and we have ours. I'll try and stay as close as I can."
Australia's five-times 500cc motorcycle world champion Michael Doohan improved from 17th to 13th, and his overall penalty time is 3-mins 31-secs behind Richards.
"We put some respectable times on the board today, and I'm feeling better and better," said Doohan. "I think we can up the pace a little from now on, without getting out of control or losing sight of our aim to be there at the end."
There were eight crashes during the day, but there were no injuries. The most spectacular of the incidents was Monaco's Richard Clark rolling his Porsche. <pre> RESULTS (overall classifications)
(Outright): POS DRIVERS CAR PENALTY TIME 1. J. Richards (Vic)-B. Oliver (Tas) Porsche 911 4-min 18-secs 2. T. Quinn (Qld)-K. Wenn (Tas) Porsche 911 4-min 50-secs 3. A. Miedecke (NSW)-R. Coenan (Tas) Dodge Viper 6-min 06-secs 4. John White-Jason White (Tas) Nissan 300ZX 6-min 12-secs 5. R. Lintott (NSW)-T. Jackson (Tas) Porsche 911 6-min 21-secs 6. N. Bates-C. Taylor (A.C.T.) Lexus IS200 6-min 47-secs 7. B. Learoyd-C. Palmer (Qld) Chevrolet Corvette 7-min 14-secs 8. J. Beable-N. Beable (Vic) Nissan Skyline 7-min 17-secs 9. C. Dean-G. Bell (Vic) Toyota Supra 7-min 18-secs 10. G. Cook-T. Robertson (Tas) Porsche 911 7-min 28-secs
OTHERS: 13. M. Doohan-M. Stacey (Qld) Mercedes-Benz CLK 55 7-min 49-secs 16. P. Brock-J. Brock (Vic) V8 Holden Ute 7-min 08-secs 24. M. Coote-A. McLoughlan (Qld) Mazda MX-5 9-min 39-secs 46. S. Hoinville-G. Foletta (Vic) Ford Falcon XR6 11-min 45-secs 44. B. Sheene (Qld)-F. White (Tas) Mercedes-Benz ML 55 13-min 23-secs
CLASSIC COMPETITION: POS DRIVERS CAR PENALTY TIME 1. G. Copeland-J. Siddins (Qld) Datsun 240Z 4-min 23-secs
TOURING CLASSIC COMPETITION: POS DRIVERS CAR PENALTY TIME 1. P. Nichols-P. Blake (Tas) Austin Healey 8-min 05-secs
HISTORIC COMPETITION: POS DRIVERS CAR PENALTY TIME 1. N. Cocks (SA)-S. Fong (NSW) Bugatti 35B 7-min 30-secs