RICHARDS TAMES GEORGE TOWN -- STOKELL OFF TO UNCERTAIN START
Multiple Targa Tasmania champion Jim Richards got his 2005 assault off to a flying-start, clocking the fastest time at today's Temco George Town Prologue, while Lamborghini driver Paul Stokell will be seeded deeper into the starting field for tomorrow's first leg of competition after overshooting a corner.
Stokell, driving a new Lamborghini Gallardo, was caught out by its immediate pace, and after, arriving at a cross road faster than he anticipated, overshot the junction losing about five seconds to the front runners.
Performing well in perfect weather conditions, 57-year-old Melbourne-based Richards dominated the Targa Tasmania field in his 2WD Porsche 911 GT3, clocking a time of 3-mins 11.67-secs around the 4.5km street course, taking the stage victory by just over one second.
"We tried hard, the car is a little bit better than last year, certainly faster now we will go as fast as we can and see what happens," said Richards.
Queenslander Tony Quinn in a 4WD Porsche 911 Turbo was second fastest with 3-mins 12.96 secs, followed by Victoria's husband and wife combination Jeff and Nerida Beable driving a Nissan Skyline GT-R. Fourth fastest was fellow Nissan team and Tasmanian favourites to win, Jason and John White, with the top five being rounded out by fellow Tasmanian Greg Garwood, also driving a Porsche 911 Turbo.
Swapping his golf clubs for a week-long drive in a Lamborghini Gallardo, US-based PGA champion Stuart Appleby approached the street circuit with fervour and was thrilled with his first driving effort, finishing 45th outright.
"Unbelievable! I can't believe the speeds at which we are whipping by houses, it is a huge adrenalin rush and I want to do it again," said Appleby.
V8 Supercar driver and former Bathurst winner Tony Longhurst driving a brand new Subaru Impreza WRX STi adapted quickly to the rally-style event with a creditable 17th outright, but was amazed at the pace of the front runners.
"This is much more violent than I expected," said Longhurst. "I couldn't go the whole event at that pace; I really gave the Subaru a flogging."
In the Historic Competition the husband and wife duo of Graham and Pat Kent clocked the fastest time in their 1936 Ford Coupe, leading home the 1930 Oakland of John Felder and John Lawson's 1926 AC Amilcar.
Tomorrow's opening leg of eight stages starts and finishes in Launceston, and has a total competitive distance of 58.49km. The first car leaves from Launceston Civic Square at 8.45am.
<pre> TARGA TASMANIA TARMAC RALLY Tuesday, 26 April Temco George Town Prologue - 4.50km
DRIVETRAVEL.COM MODERN COMPETITION
POS CREW MODEL TIME 1 Richards (Vic), Oliver (Tas) Porsche 911 GT3 3:11.67 2 Quinn (Qld), Wenn (Tas) Porsche 911 Turbo 3:12.96 3 Beable (Vic), Beable (Vic) Nissan Skyline GT-R 3:13.81 4 White (Tas), White (Tas) Nissan Skyline GT-R 3:15.07 5 Garwood (Tas), Allen (Qld) Porsche 911 Turbo 3:16.15 6 Broadbent (Vic), Goedheer (Vic) Daytona Coupe 3:17.98 7 Rooklyn (NSW), Long (NSW) Mitsubishi Evo Lancer 3:21.70 8 Juniper (Qld), Bowden (Qld) Porsche 911 Turbo 3:21.79 9 Froude (Vic), Wheeler (Tas) Porsche 911 GT3 CS 3:22.56 10 Lintott (NSW), Gocentas (Lithuania) Porsche 911 GT3 CS 3:23.23
SHANNONS CLASSIC COMPETITION POS CREW MODEL TIME 1 Cattlin (Vic), Cattlin (Vic) 1969 Ford Mustang 3:28.65 2 Conway (Vic), Gardner (Vic) 1977 Ford Escort 3:28.87 3 Pye (NSW), Geelan (NSW) 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 3:29.68