Targa Tasmania 2005 Course Deemed Safest In Five Years

Following his annual inspection of Targa Tasmania's 2005 provisional course, CAMS Tarmac Rally Safety Assessor and multiple Australian Rally Champion, Greg Carr said that the standard of the 2005 Tasmanian tarmac rally's course is the highest it has been in five years.

Mr Carr said the course to date has gradually been refined to a high standard, making for an exciting driver course that fully complies with safety standards as required by CAMS.

"This year the overall standard of the course is very high which has been refined slowly over the last five years. For next year there are two major stage changes, and not only are they safe but they will be enjoyable, good driver stages."

A significant change in next year's provisional course is the reversal of the tarmac rally's existing Woodbridge and Flowerpot stages. Both in the event' s southern loop, the changes offer a more challenging course for competitors in 2005.

"In particular, the change in the Woodbridge and Flowerpot stages will provide variation on that day of the event," said Rob McGuire, General Manager Tasmania for Octagon.

"It is our goal to ensure that Targa Tasmania retains its title as the 'ultimate tarmac rally' by offering return and first time competitors an exciting and challenging course," he said.

Another significant change in the 2005 course is the shortened Cygnet stage, situated in Tasmania's south, which will now direct cars along the town's shoreline.

The change in the event's Cygnet stage excludes a corner made famous in 2002 by Bathurst Champion Steven Richards, when he crashed into roadside banking, badly damaging Holden's factory entry V8 Monaro and threatening his contention in the tarmac rally.

Targa Tasmania's Clerk of Course Ken Roddam says that the decision to change the Cygnet stage course was to exclude a bumpy section of inclining road -- a hill deemed unsatisfactory by event organisers.

"The overall surface of that part of the road was quite rough. Taking into consideration competitor comments and our own judgement, the decision was made to exclude the stretch of road to ensure total competitor safety," said Mr Roddam.

Targa Tasmania 2005 will be the 14th annual staging of the tarmac rally since its inception in 1992. The total distance of next year's course will be just under 2100km, with about 452km in 44 competitive stages.

Next year the rally will begin with the traditional Temco Prologue at George Town to determine starting positions on Tuesday April 26. To date there have been 230 entries received.