AUS: Lamborghini to debut in Targa Tasmania

LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO TO MAKE MOTOR SPORT DEBUT IN TARGA TASMANIA RALLY - AUSTRALIAN GOLF STAR TO DRIVE THURSDAY, MARCH 3: Leading GT outfit Team Lamborghini Australia has entered two Lamborghini Gallardos in this year's Targa Tasmania tarmac...

LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO TO MAKE MOTOR SPORT DEBUT IN TARGA TASMANIA RALLY - AUSTRALIAN GOLF STAR TO DRIVE

THURSDAY, MARCH 3: Leading GT outfit Team Lamborghini Australia has entered two Lamborghini Gallardos in this year's Targa Tasmania tarmac rally from April 26-May 1. The dual entry will be the Gallardo's international motor sport debut, and will place Australian golfing star Stuart Appleby and Lamborghini Australia driver Paul Stokell in the driver's seats.

Judged Motor Performance Car of 2004 and valued at almost $400,000 each, the Targa Tasmania-bound Gallardos were built in the Lamborghini factory in Sant'Agata, Italy, and have been modified to compete in the drivetravel.com Modern Competition of the Tasmanian rally, which is owned by global sports marketing company Octagon.

With his own Gallardo garaged at his Florida home, international golfing sensation Appleby first became involved with Lamborghini Australia following his attendance at Lamborghini Experiences at Phillip Island last year.

Taking a week--long break from the rigours of the PGA tour for Targa Tasmania, Appleby says he is extremely excited about the event and looks forward to "driving on some of Australia's best roads, in his favourite car."

With a particular interest in action sports and motor racing, Appleby first made mention to Targa Tasmania during a media interview where he said his dream would be to race competitively in the Tasmanian tarmac rally. Lamborghini Australia is yet to confirm a Navigator for Appleby's Targa Tasmania jaunt.

Named after a famous Spanish fighting Bull, the 4WD Lamborghini Gallardo sports a V10, 5.0L engine, produces 376 kW of power and can reach a top speed of 309 km/h. A dry weight of 1430 kg and just 2.3 turns from lock to lock, makes for sharp steering and easy handling.

This being the Gallardo's first official motor sport event, the world over, the dual Targa Tasmania Lamborghini entry has secured sponsorship from mobile communications company Crazy Johns.

Principal of Team Lamborghini Australia Andrew Smith said the Targa Tasmania rally is a fitting racing debut for the Gallardo.

"Targa Tasmania is a good format to showcase the car for the world to see how good the Gallardo package actually is," he said. "Whilst the car hasn't been in any other events, given that it is a stock-standard model, Targa Tasmania will be a great introduction for us."

"The Gallardo is an easy car to drive and since Audi's takeover of Lamborghini, with high-level backing, the quality of product coming out of the factory is second to none."

"I have no doubt the Gallardo can hold its own amongst the competition field; there is no one in the world that can drive a Lamborghini faster than Paul Stokell."

Stokell, who grew up in Tasmania and is now based in Melbourne, joined Team Lamborghini Australia in 2000 and has driven the Lamborghini Diablo GTR, to victory securing back to back Australian Nations Cup Championships in 2003 and 2004.

To date, Stokell has competed in Targa Tasmania four times before and is geared up for a full assault in 2005; to date, his best Targa Tasmania result has been third outright in 2001 driving a Lotus Elise.

"The Gallardo is a car capable of taking on the big guns and we have a real chance of outright victory," said Stokell.

"I have been waiting a long time for this and I can't wait to take on Jim Richards and Porsche -- It will bring back memories of our clashes in Nations Cup together."

Stokell, whose past record also includes driving V8 Supercars, said he owes all his motor sport successes to his long-time Tasmanian Navigator, Peter Roberts, who will be guiding him around the Targa Tasmania course in 2005.

"Peter has remained with me in all events and I attribute a lot of our success to his experience and the fact that we get on very well together."

Targa Tasmania is supported by the Tasmanian Government through Events Tasmania.

-octagon-

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Andrew Smith , Jim Richards , Paul Stokell , Phillip Island