Brock charges into contention in Targa Tasmania Touring car legend Peter Brock today charged into contention in the 2003 Targa Tasmania tarmac rally and lodged a legitimate challenge to the long-time dominator of the event, Jim ...
Brock charges into contention in Targa Tasmania
Touring car legend Peter Brock today charged into contention in the 2003 Targa Tasmania tarmac rally and lodged a legitimate challenge to the long-time dominator of the event, Jim Richards.
Richards, chasing a seventh Targa win, leads the 2003 event after the opening leg in the Launceston and Devonport area. He incurred a total penalty time of 1-min 5-secs over the eight stages and 59.77km of competitive driving in the Porsche 911 turbo he is sharing with Tasmanian navigator Barry Oliver.
They hold a 13-secs advantage over Brock, who is second in a rear-drive V8 Holden Motorsport Monaro, followed by Queensland's Tony Quinn in a Porsche 911 and Tasmania's Jason White in a Nissan Skyline GTR.
Brock is competing in Targa for the fourth time, and the nine-times Bathurst 1000 winner believes he can better his 2002 performance of sixth in a Monaro.
"I thought I was a bit stiff last year," said Brock. "To be honest I thought I had one foot on that podium, but a couple of things didn't go our way. I think I've got unfinished business in Targa and that's why I came back to have a go."
"This is one of the icon motorsport events in Australia with its own set of challenges and experiences. I don't count my chickens before they hatch, but I feel we've come here this year with a car that's quicker in a straight line, and has better grip and brakes. We've had a year of development to fiddle with the springs and things."
Brock said he would relish the challenge of competing for the title against Richards. They are former touring car rivals and team-mates, and shared three Bathurst 10000 wins more than two decades ago.
"Jim and I have been going head-to-head for as long as I can remember and he's one of the best in the business," said Brock.
Richards said he was satisfied with the performance of his four-wheel-drive Porsche in the opening leg.
"We had a good run, although it was pretty slippery and we probably didn't do as well as we would have liked," he said. "But we're going good enough to be at the front. There were a couple of stages that were quite damp and I think we were quickest through them."
Queensland driver Jason McMillen and navigator Rob Goss escaped injury when their Lotus Elise crashed on the Sheffield stage. The car slid off a bridge and hit a bank, and is out of the rally.
Tasmania's Philip Nichols lost his opportunity to win a third Shannons Touring Classic title after his Austin Healey Sprite had gearbox problems on the Moriarty stage. The car was towed to Launceston for repairs, and he missed the remainder of the leg. The 53-year-old from Sorrell hopes to resume racing tomorrow.
Tomorrow's second leg comprises nine stages, starting and finishing in Launceston, with a total competitive distance of 72.76km.