Kirstie Marshall flies high in Targa Tasmania

Ski champion Kirstie Marshall flies high in Targa rally. TUESDAY, APRIL 16: World champion freestyle skier Kirstie Marshall is a late entry in the field of 280 competing in the 11th annual Targa Tasmania tarmac rally, which started ...

Ski champion Kirstie Marshall flies high in Targa rally.

TUESDAY, APRIL 16: World champion freestyle skier Kirstie Marshall is a late entry in the field of 280 competing in the 11th annual Targa Tasmania tarmac rally, which started today.

Marshall, who won two world titles and represented Australia in three Winter Olympic Games before retiring in 2001, is navigating in the Porsche 911 being driven in the 1,977km Targa event by Victorian Dean Koutsoumidis.

They clocked a time of 3-mins 37.46-secs to finish 73rd outright in today's 4.7km Temco Prologue in George Town, and are in the 43-stage rally over the next five days in a field which includes five-times Targa winner Jim Richards and nine-times Bathurst 1000 champion Peter Brock.

Marshall, who now coaches and operates women's programs at Mt Buller, said her invitation to enter Targa in Category Eight for vehicles between 1991-97 was made an at informal dinner party.

"We'd had a few glasses of red wine and Dean said he didn't have a navigator and asked me if I'd like to do it," said Marshall.

"I've been in a few motor racing events and enjoyed them, but to be honest I didn't think much more about it until he rang the next day and asked me again so I accepted."

Marshall's past motorsport experience includes driving a Nissan in Targa in 1996, when she crashed, plus the Australian Formula One Grand Prix celebrity race.

"Being a navigator is a new experience so I've been busy learning the pace notes and generally getting myself up to speed with the things I have to do," she said.

"We're not here to beat Jim Richards or anything like that, but now I'm finished with skiing I like doing things like this where I can compete and have some fun ^Ö we're aiming to be there at the end and do as well as we can in our class."

Marshall won aerial freestyle skiing world championship titles in 1992 and again five years later, and was in the Australian team at the Winter Olympics at Albertville in France, Lillehammer in Norway, and Nagano in Japan.

She said she was delighted at the aerial freestyle gold medal success of Australia's Alissa Camplin at this year's Winter Olympics, but also saddened by the injury which prevented Jacquie Cooper from competing.

"What Alissa did was fantastic and good on her," said Marshall. "At the same time I felt for Jacqui because I also had my share of injuries and it's frustrating when you can't do your best."

Targa Tasmania is owned and produced by global sports marketing company Octagon Worldwide, the sports marketing and entertainment division of the Interpublic Group, one of the world's largest advertising and marketing communications groups.

-www.targa.org.au

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Jim Richards , Peter Brock