FRIDAY, AUGUST 10: A total of 195 'Early Bird' entries have already been received for the 2002 Targa Tasmania tarmac rally next April. The figure is a 10-percent increase on entries lodged by the corresponding July 31 'Early Bird' deadline for...
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10: A total of 195 'Early Bird' entries have already been received for the 2002 Targa Tasmania tarmac rally next April.
The figure is a 10-percent increase on entries lodged by the corresponding July 31 'Early Bird' deadline for the 2001 rally.
Targa Tasmania General Manager Rob McGuire said today that organisers were aiming to assemble a bigger field for next year's rally from April 17-21 than the existing record of 300 entries in 2000.
"We're almost two-thirds of the way to the magic 300-mark in terms of entries received, and there's still more than eight months to go," said McGuire.
"There has been an incredible amount of early interest -- more than ever before, which reflects just how much Targa is going ahead in leaps and bounds."
"This year we had a record seven manufacturers with official teams, and we will be working hard in the coming months to consolidate and increase growth in that area."
High-profile competitors among the entries received to date include 1994 Targa champion Andrew Miedecke of Port MacQuarie in a Dodge Viper, and 2001 runner-up Tony Quinn in a Porsche 911. The oldest car entered is a 1925 Vauxhall 30-98 to be driven by Victorian Michael Hopkins.
McGuire announced details of the 'Early Bird' entry list, and other important aspects of the 2002 rally, at the official Tasmanian Media Launch at the Country Club Casino in Launceston.
Major changes for 2002 include the reduction in the days of competition from six to five (excluding the Temco Prologue), and the eligibility in the Modern Competition of production-specification four-wheel-drive cars that are raced in rally events, such as the Subaru WRX Impreza and Mitsubishi Lanca Evo models.
The 2002 Targa event will be the 11th annual staging of the rally, which is owned and produced by Octagon Worldwide, the sports marketing and entertainment division of the Interpublic Group, one of the world's largest advertising and marketing communications groups. Octagon's other Australian motorsport events include the Australian Safari international cross country rally, and the Grand Prix Rally in Victoria.
TECHNICAL CHANGES and FOUR-WHEEL-DRIVE VEHICLES
The most noteworthy aspect of technical changes for Targa 2002 is the eligibility of production-specification four-wheel-drive models raced in rally events, such as the Subaru WRX Impreza and Mitsubishi Lancer Evo range.
Clerk of Course Tom Snooks said these models could now compete in the Modern Competition, provided they were not fitted with performance-enhancing after-market or rally-homologated parts.
"It has been decided to allow showroom versions of cars that compete in rallying to race in Targa, but they will have to be stock-standard," said Snooks.
"In the past we have had four-wheel-drive Porsches and Nissan Skylines, but they are not classified as rally-bred cars like the Subaru and Lancer."
Snooks predicts the move will stimulate entries and provide the event with a new competitive rivalry between loyal Subaru and Mitsubishi competitors and enthusiasts.
"These 'WRX' and 'Evo' cars have their own clubs and special cult following right around Australia, a bit like the rivalry between Holden and Ford in the V8 market," said Snooks.
"It's going to be interesting to see them battling it out on the roads of Tasmania next year trying to sort out once and for all who is the best."
The four competitions for Targa 2002 are: Shannons Historic (for cars 1900-46); Shannons Touring Classic (1947-65); Classic (1966-81); Modern (1982-2002).