TEMCO to sponsor Targa Tasmania rally prologue for 10th year
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 23: TEMCO, the only manganese ferro-alloy plant in Australia, will sponsor the Targa Tasmania tarmac rally prologue for the 10th year in 2004.
The TEMCO Prologue is held over a 4.2km course through the streets of the northern Tasmanian town of George Town, located 7km from TEMCO's plant at Bell Bay, and competitors are timed to determine starting positions for the opening leg of the Targa rally.
Fastest time in the TEMCO prologue of the 2003 rally was set by seven-times Targa champion Jim Richards and Tasmanian navigator Barry Oliver in a Porsche 911.
The TEMCO Prologue in Targa 2004 will be held on April 27, and will be followed by 44 stages of competition over five successive days, finishing in Hobart on May 2.
"I've always found the prologue to be a good way to gauge how you're going to go in Targa, and where we stand against the opposition," said Richards. "It's a serious 'shakedown' for the car because everything is new, and you've got to watch out for the kerbs."
"Mostly it's second, third, and fourth gear, with some tight sections. There's always a good atmosphere at the prologue because all the people in George Town come out and watch - Targa wouldn't be the same without it."
TEMCO was established 41 years ago, employs 280 people, and is part of the BHP Billiton Group. It's annual production is 250,000-tonnes of alloy.
Rob McGuire, General Manager Tasmania for global sports and events marketing company Octagon, which promotes Targa, said TEMCO's support had been an important factor in the growth and development of the rally, which began in 1992.
"TEMCO has provided significant support to Targa over a lengthy period, and its commitment is something valued very highly by the organisers, competitors, motorsport enthusiasts, and the people of Tasmania," said McGuire.
TEMCO's Acting General Manager Greg Hannan said the company recognised the importance of Targa to George Town and Tasmania.
"We are delighted to continue our support and assist in bringing a world-class event such as Targa to both the local community and Tasmania," said Hannan. "The rally generates an enormous amount of excitement in the area, as well as generating tourism and economic benefits."
The 2004 rally will be held over a total distance of approximately 2,000km, with about 450km in competitive stages. The four established competitions in Targa are Historic (for cars from 1900-46), Touring Classic (1947-65), Classic (1900-81), and Modern (1982-2003).
The non-competition 'Touring' class, introduced in this year's rally, will be retained in 2004. Another new non-competition class open to vehicles of all eras has been added to next year's rally, known as 'Thoroughbred Sport'.
Confirmed entries for 2004 are currently 257. Entries in the Modern Competition include Richards and Oliver, chasing an eighth victory, and V8 Supercar driver and dual Bathurst 1000 champion Tony Longhurst, who will make his Targa debut in a Subaru WRX STi with fellow-Queenslander Michael DeVere.
Other confirmed starters are Victorian Rex Broadbent, who was third in 2003, and Targa New Zealand winner Tony Quinn of Queensland, both driving Porsche 911 cars. The Tasmanian challenge will be led by Launceston's Greg Garwood, who was fourth in 2003, in a Porsche 911 GT3, and Jason White and John White, third in 2002, in a Nissan Skyline GTR.