Sheene to race Mercedes-Benz ML 55 AMG in Targa

MONDAY, APRIL 2: Mercedes-Benz announced today that high-profile television motorsport commentator and two-times 500cc motorcycle world champion Barry Sheene will drive a powerful Mercedes-Benz ML 55 AMG in next month's Targa Tasmania. Sheene,...

MONDAY, APRIL 2: Mercedes-Benz announced today that high-profile television motorsport commentator and two-times 500cc motorcycle world champion Barry Sheene will drive a powerful Mercedes-Benz ML 55 AMG in next month's Targa Tasmania.

Sheene, a first-time entrant in the tarmac rally, will be joined by six-times Targa competitor Farrel White as co-driver in the 54-stage event from April 18-24.

"I have never entered a rally event in my life, but I am really looking forward to having a bit of fun and having a go," said Sheene.

"Of course to a great extent I will be relying on Farrel White's experience and knowledge of the event and his intimate knowledge of the roads and conditions in Tasmania, to bring me up to speed," said Sheene.

The 255kW V8 M-class driven by Sheene will compete in the demonstration class of the event.

"Although I have never driven an ML 55 AMG, it has the same V8 engine that's in my CLK 55 AMG in England, so I can imagine it would be amazing," said Sheene.

"As part of my preparation I am looking forward to running the vehicle around a race track in early April, so that I can come to grips with the vehicle's limits.

"Funnily enough my first car ever was a Mercedes-Benz 220D back in 1970 and I have owned a Mercedes ever since," said Sheene.

Sheene, 50, and White, 37, will enter next month's Targa alongside five-times 500cc motorcycle world champion Michael Doohan and his co-driver Mark Stacey in their high-performance V8 Mercedes-Benz CLK 55 AMG.

Sheene started his motorcycle racing career in 1968, winning the 500cc world championship in 1976 and 1977. Between 1973 and 1982, he won more international motorcycle races than any other rider in the world.

Sheene emigrated to Australia in 1987 after retiring from racing in September 1984. Today he is a motorsport commentator with Channel 10.

White, a qualified driver and instructor, has completed three years in the Modern competition of Targa and three years in the Classic category. He finished seventh outright in 1996.

Together with driver Tim Ledger, White has competed as co-driver in tarmac events such as the Tasmanian Classic Challenge, which he won in 1998 and 1999, and Rally Tasmania, where he has finished in the top ten numerous times, including ninth outright last year.

Mercedes-Benz has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with Targa to be the Official Vehicle Supplier of the event.

The Targa event, 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.

Octagon Worldwide's other motorsport events in Australia for 2001 included the Grand Prix Rally in Victoria during, and the Australian Safari international cross-country rally in the Northern Territory from August 19-26.

-Mercedes-Benz

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Series Other rally
Drivers Mark Stacey