Targa Tasmania returns to Symmons Plains Raceway

MONDAY, JANUARY 15: This year's 10th anniversary Targa Tasmania tarmac rally in April will include a four-lap stage for competitors on the Symmons Plains Raceway circuit. Clerk of Course !@Tom Snooks said today the 2.4km raceway near ...

MONDAY, JANUARY 15: This year's 10th anniversary Targa Tasmania tarmac rally in April will include a four-lap stage for competitors on the Symmons Plains Raceway circuit.

Clerk of Course !@Tom Snooks said today the 2.4km raceway near Launceston would be a venue on the second day of the 54-stage event from April 18-24.

Symmons Plains was part of the Targa Tasmania course from 1992 up to 1995 when it was dropped from the event.

"We are certain the return to Symmons Plains will be an added attraction for Targa competitors," said Snooks.

"For many, this will be a unique opportunity to drive on a permanent purpose-built racetrack for the first time and the four laps will be an exciting new experience for them."

"Symmons Plains is an important part of motorsport in Tasmania, and we felt it was appropriate to take Targa back there as part of the 10th anniversary."

Symmons Plains was a venue for the Shell Australian Touring Car Championship up to 1999, and in December hosted a round of the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship.

Defending Targa Tasmania champion Jim Richards, who raced V8 and 2-litre touring cars at Symmons Plains in the 1990s, said he expected his lap times would be about 61-seconds around the track in the new turbo Porsche 911 he will race in this year's event.

"Four laps around Symmons should be good and it will be something different to the other Targa stages," said Richards.

"The track is mostly long straights and a couple of tight corners so it's safe for those who haven't been on a proper race track before."

Snooks said competitors would begin the stage at Symmons Plains at 30-second intervals.

The total distance for this year's Targa Tasmania is 2,200km, of which 500km is competitive. As in past years, the event will begin with the Temco Prologue at George Town.

The annual Targa Tasmania course safety check began today. Clerk of Course Tom Snooks and CAMS representative Stuart Lister will check all safety aspects of the course through until January 23. Safety matters being checked include speeds, spectator viewing areas, and roadblocks.

Targa Tasmania Competition Security S tuart Benson said 284 entries had been received for this year's event. He said it was expected approximately 235 invitations would have been sent to competitors by the end of the week.

Concerns over safety have led to the 35km 'Riana' stage being split. In 2001 there will be a 22km stage known as 'South Riana' and a 12km stage known as 'Natone'. The original stage was split because of crashes in past years after competitors became bunched together.

-- Mike Porter

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Series Other rally
Drivers Jim Richards