Former Targa winner Miedecke is a late entry

Former Targa Tasmania winner Andrew Miedecke is a late addition to the entries for this month's 2001 tarmac rally. Miedecke, a successful racer who owns a major car dealership on the NSW north coast, won Targa in 1994 and will race a Dodge Viper...

Former Targa Tasmania winner Andrew Miedecke is a late addition to the entries for this month's 2001 tarmac rally.

Miedecke, a successful racer who owns a major car dealership on the NSW north coast, won Targa in 1994 and will race a Dodge Viper in this year's 10th anniversary rally from April 18-24.

He said his decision to enter was prompted by a television interview on Network Ten's 'RPM' program during March with Australia's five-times 500cc motorcycle world champion Michael Doohan, who will make his car racing debut in Targa in a Mercedes-Benz CLK 55 AMG.

"I was sitting at home a few weeks ago waiting for the TV coverage of the V8 Supercar race at Phillip Island to start, when 'RPM' ran an interview with Doohan who is tackling the event for the first time," said Miedecke.

"I've done it (Targa) three times before, including 1994 when I won, but I had absolutely no plans to do it this year."

"Hearing Mick talk about Targa, and the fact it's the 10th anniversary so it will probably be even better than usual, I suddenly decided I couldn't miss out. I'm probably the last entry they're taking."

Miedecke's decision meant some quick thinking was required because his Targa-winning Porsche had been sold and his co-driver had entered the event with another competitor.

He bought a 1997 Dodge Viper that had been campaigned in the GTP Nation's Cup by Mike Conway, and secured Tasmanian Ron Coenan as navigator.

"Ron Coenan will be calling the notes for me and I think I'd be hard pushed to find someone better," said Miedecke.

"Not only is he a Tasmanian champion co-driver, but he writes the official Targa pace notes that other competitors buy and use. There's probably no-one else who would know the course as well."

"With his inside knowledge and my previous Targa experience, we would have to rate as a real possibility for a podium finish."

Miedecke said he was he confident the 1,500kg Viper would be competitive, with its powerful 7,980cc V10 engine and six-speed gearbox.

"I have always had a thing for Vipers, and it's the right brand for me because I am a Daimler Chrysler dealer!," he said.

"The earlier models did have brake problems in circuit racing, but this car has upgraded brakes and I'm not anticipating any problems in that direction."

"Of more concern is the potential tyre wear but we're prepared for that, so we'll just see how we go."

Miedecke began racing Formula Ford in 1974 and in the past two decades has been a successful touring car driver, with 14 starts in 1000km races at Bathurst. His best result at Bathurst was third in the Primus 1000 in 1997 in a Ford Falcon with Mark Larkham.

This year's Targa event covers a total distance of 2,100km, with 525km in 54 competitive stages.

The Targa rally, which has attracted more than 280 entries, is promoted by global sports marketing company Octagon Worldwide, the sports marketing and entertainment division of the Interpublic Group, one of the world's largest advertising and marketing communications groups. -www.targa.org.au

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Series Other rally
Drivers Mike Conway , Mark Larkham , Andrew Miedecke , Phillip Island