FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6: New temporary chicanes will be included in 10 stages of next year's Targa Tasmania event to ensure the best possible safety standards in the tarmac rally.

The chicanes will be introduced to ensure competitors comply with Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) regulations and do not exceed the average speed limit of 132km/h in the 10 stages.

CAMS Tarmac Rally Safety Assessor Greg Carr and Targa Operations Manager Ken Roddam announced details of the chicanes today after a four-day inspection of the course for the rally, which will be held from May 13-18 over 45 stages.

"Once again the Targa organisers have done an excellent job with safety, but each year the cars get faster as technology moves ahead so it's been decided to introduce chicanes," said Carr.

"This will slow the cars and keep the average speeds within the regulations."

Stages designated for chicanes in 2003 are Devonport, Sheffield, and Quamby Brook on Leg One, Cranbrook on Leg Two, Oyster Cove on Leg Three, Cethana and South Riana on Leg Four, and Rosebery, Mount Arrowsmith and Ellendale on Leg Five.

"In most instances the chicanes will be placed on the faster sections of the various stages, so it will slow top speeds, as well as average speeds," said Carr, a three-times Australian Rally Champion in the 1970s and 1980s.

"For some of the longer stages we've decided on more than one chicane -- Mt Arrowsmith, for example, will have three."

Roddam said next year's rally would be the first time chicanes had been used on road stages in Targa, which is owned and produced by global sports and events marketing company Octagon.

He said the chicanes to be used in Targa would be made from three plastic barriers, and had been trialled successfully in the Classic Adelaide Rally.

Roddam added that any competitor who made contact with any of the chicanes would receive an automatic penalty of 5-minutes.

Carr, who also checked the Targa course for CAMS the past two years, said there were no problems with new finishing points to four stages.

"Generally speaking there is a now a good deal of stability with the Targa course, which is good for competitors, officials, and spectators," he said.

"Sensibly the stages on the first day are easier to allow competitors to get into a driving rhythm and get used to their cars, and then it gets more difficult."

Next year's rally will be the 12th annual Targa event in Tasmania since 1992, and will be contested over a total distance of 2,299km, with 464km in competitive stages.

Entries have increased to 231 in the four competitions -- Shannons Historic (for cars from 1900-46), Shannons Touring Classic (1947-65), Classic (1900-81), and Modern (1982-2003). There is also a new non-competition touring class for rare and exotic historic and classic cars.

Defending champion and six-times Targa winner Jim Richards, heads the Modern Competition entries for 2003, along with fellow-Porsche driver Tony Quinn.

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