Richards Back For Targa Tasmania 2005 With Winning Formula
TUESDAY DECEMBER 21: After losing grip on his momentous winning streak at this year's event, Porsche-powered Jim Richards is looking forward to reclaiming his position at the head of the field in the 2005 Targa Tasmania rally from April 26-May 1.
"Our main ambition is always to go in and try and win it. The strategy is to go each day as fast as we can, or want to, depending on the conditions and to see what happens at the end of each day," said Richards.
Finishing third outright in this year's event, the 57-year-old Melbourne-based New Zealander says he is less concerned about weather conditions in 2005 - an element he partly attributes to his failure to hold top position this year.
"The last three years prior to 2004 we'd run a 4WD turbo. We won it three times in a row and it was time to try something different. I decided to go with a GT2, which was 2WD, had no traction control, was lighter and had more power."
"We were leading at the end of day four and on day five it snowed, it sleeted, it was so cold it was incredible and we dropped to third place."
Opting to run a non-turbo charged 2WD Porsche GT3 in next year's Tasmanian tarmac rally, although wary that weather will always be his biggest hurdle, the seven-time Bathurst winner is more than satisfied with his choice of vehicle.
"In the GT3 weather conditions don't really matter, we're not 4WD so we would much rather it was dry but the GT3 isn't too bad in the wet either."
"We want to try and win the event because Barry [Oliver] and I love it. Our next priority obviously, if you win it or not, is to have a good time, have fun, enjoy the car and enjoy our time in the car together."
Considered the most successful driver in Targa history, the seven-time Targa Tasmania winner rates his Targa wins the highest amongst his motor sport successes.
"Targa Tasmania wins are far more personal than a public one. You have a five-day event, with up to nine stages everyday, everyone's on a different track and you don't really know what's around the next corner."
Since this year's event in April, Richards and his Tasmanian navigator Barry Oliver have added a Targa New Zealand win to their list of achievements finishing first overall with fellow Porsche driver, Queenslander Tony Quinn a close second.
Entered in the same Porsche 911 turbo that placed him second outright ahead of Richards in this year's Targa Tasmania, it is predicted that Quinn will be one of Richards' greatest challengers in the drivetravel.com Modern Competition in 2005.
Next year's 2100km Targa starts with the TEMCO Prologue in George Town on Tuesday April 26, followed by 44 stages of timed competition over approximately 452km. The rally is owned and produced by global sports and events marketing company Octagon and to date there have been 233 applications received for the 2005 event.