Targa Tasmania Tarmac Rally -- Sunday, April 21 Leg 5 Report: Burnie to Hobart, 8 stages (140.81km competitive) Richards Wins Sixth Targa Tasmania Title Jim Richards today raced to his sixth win in the Targa Tasmania tarmac rally after his ...
Targa Tasmania Tarmac Rally -- Sunday, April 21
Leg 5 Report: Burnie to Hobart, 8 stages (140.81km competitive)
Richards Wins Sixth Targa Tasmania Title
Jim Richards today raced to his sixth win in the Targa Tasmania tarmac rally after his closest rival Tony Quinn crashed out of contention.
Richards, also a six-times Bathurst touring car champion, and Tasmanian navigator Barry Oliver claimed victory in the 1,977km event when they completed the fifth and final leg from Burnie to Hobart with an overall penalty time of 11-min 41-secs in a turbo Porsche 911.
They finished with a winning penalty time margin of 2-mins and 33-secs over second-placed Peter Fitzgerald, Targa champion in 1999, and fellow-Victorian Michael Mansour in another Porsche 911.
Only 18-secs separated the four drivers from third place back to sixth in the 43-stage event. Tasmanian Jason White eventually secured third and the final podium position in a Mitsubishi Evo VII, followed by Victorian Jeff Beable in a Nissan Skyline, Tasmania's Greg Garwood in a Mitsubishi Evo VI, and nine-times Bathurst champion Peter Brock in a V8 Holden Monaro.
Quinn, who was runner-up to Richards in Targa 2001, began the final leg in second position and 1-min and 5-secs behind in the leader. However, Quinn's victory chances evaporated when he crashed out in the Strahan stage.
Richards said that he was pleased to win after receiving an automatic 2-min penalty in yesterday's fourth leg for replacing a tyre after damaging a rim. He said Quinn's early exit, and South Australian Steve Glenney's crash when second yesterday had been decisive in the result.
"We hit a pot-hole which could have put us out, but luckily all we did was damage a rim," said Richards. "It cost us 2-mins, but at least we could keep going. Unfortunately when things went wrong for some of the others it put them out of the race. We just kept racing hard doing the best we could."
"Some people think all we have to do is turn up every year to win. That's not the case. This year we gave away 2-mins to everyone else and things could easily have been different."
Fitzgerald, who was ninth after the opening leg near Launceston on Wednesday, was satisfied with his climb through the field up to second in the field of 280 starters.
"Early in the event we were pretty far down, but I expected that," he said. "Once we got used to the car I knew we'd get quicker and you could see the culmination of that in the past couple of days."
White, who drove with his uncle, John White, was delighted with his first podium finish in Targa, especially since they only took delivery of their Mitsubishi two months ago.
"It's a great to finally get to the end of one of these Targa races, and to be on the podium with guys like Jim Richards in front of my 'hometown' friends is just unreal," said White. "It makes all the hard work getting the new car ready worthwhile."
Dual Bathurst champion and V8 Supercar driver Steven Richards said he enjoyed his Targa debut, despite crashing his Holden Monaro in the third leg on Friday, receiving 3-hrs and 40-mins in penalties for missing control points, and eventually finishing 66th.
"I'd like to come back and do this again with Holden if I get the chance," he said. "I need more practice because that's what I'm lacking. The event itself is fantastic -- the organisation to move so many cars around in one event is unbelievable."
South Australian navigator Tess McGrath is in Royal Hobart Hospital tonight in a serious, but stable condition after being injured in a crash during the Mount Arrowsmith stage. She was in a 1939 Jaguar SS100 driven by South Australian Geoff Gowing which rolled. They had been second in the Shannons Historic Competition at the time of the incident.
Gowing was not injured, but McGrath suffered a suspected broken left arm, lung and chest injuries. The 54-year-old from Tennyson was treated by medical staff soon after the accident and then transported to hospital from Lake St Clair by helicopter.