Targa Tasmania tarmac rally, leg one

Targa Tasmania Tarmac Rally - Thursday, April 19 Launceston to Launceston: 10 stages Defending champion Jim Richards continued his domination of this year's Targa Tasmania tarmac rally when he emerged with the overall honours in today's...

Targa Tasmania Tarmac Rally - Thursday, April 19
Launceston to Launceston: 10 stages

Defending champion Jim Richards continued his domination of this year's Targa Tasmania tarmac rally when he emerged with the overall honours in today's 10-stage leg near Launceston and Devonport.

Richards and Tasmanian team-mate Barry Oliver, who have won Targa four times before, completed the leg with a penalty of 27-secs in a turbo Porsche 911. They incurred the penalty in the penultimate stage over a 5.9km course at Hillwood. Richards' performance followed his victory in yesterday's Temco Prologue at George Town.

Victorian Peter Fitzgerald is second, 26-secs behind Richards, followed by Queenslander Tony Quinn. Both Fitzgerald and Quinn are driving Porsches. Port Macquarie's Andrew Miedecke is fourth in a Dodge Viper, with Victorian Ray Lintott fifth in a Porsche 911, and Canberra's triple Australian rally champion Neal Bates sixth in a Lexus IS200.

Richards believes his performance in the traditionally difficult Devonport stage, over a 16.21km course, was decisive in opening a gap on his rivals.

"We had our best run ever through 'Devonport'," he said. "They've shortened the allowed time for this stage from last year, but we still managed to get through without a penalty. It was a good day for us. We're going as fast as we can and this is the best car we've had for this race."

Fitzgerald, by comparison, was disappointed the outcome of his drive over the 'Devonport' stage.

"I got caught behind a slower car and that hurt us a bit," he said. "Apart from that I'm pleased because Jim's not that far in front and there's still a long way to go. Some of the roads are more bumpy than we thought they'd be, so we'll be making some suspension changes."

Victoria's nine-times Bathurst 1000 champion Peter Brock, who was 40th in the prologue, finished 10th in the V8 Holden Ute he is driving with son James.

"When we decided to race a Ute here it surprised a lot of people, but I can tell you this is a fabulous motor vehicle," said Brock. "We caught and passed a couple of cars in 'Devonport' and I think we're right in the thick of this rally."

Australia's five-times 500cc motorcycle champion Michael Doohan, who is making his car racing debut in a Mercedes-Benz CLK 55 AMG, completed the leg in 17th position with a penalty of 2-mins 18-secs.

"I'm still learning, but I haven't had it sideways yet," said Doohan. "The hardest part is trying to stay well within myself when I want to push harder. There are a lot of fast guys in this race."

Tomorrow the rally continues with eight stages on Tasmania's East Coast, starting with 'The Sideling' over 14.14km. Total distance of the event is 2,110km, with 525km in 54 competitive stages. <pre> RESULTS (overall classifications)

MODERN COMPETITION (Outright): POS DRIVERS CAR PENALTY TIME 1. J. Richards (Vic)-B. Oliver (Tas) Porsche 911 27-secs 2. P. Fitzgerald-M. Mansour (Vic) Porsche 911 53-secs 3. T. Quinn (Qld)-K. Wenn (Tas) Porsche 911 57-secs 4. A. Miedecke (NSW)-R. Coenen (Tas) Dodge Viper 58-secs 5. R. Lintott (NSW)-T. Jackson (Tas) Porsche 911 1-min 4-secs 6. N. Bates-C. Taylor (A.C.T.) Lexus IS200 1-min 21-secs 7. John White-Jason White (Tas) Nissan 300ZX 1-min 26-secs 8. G. Cook-T. Robertson (Tas) Porsche 911 1-min 43-secs 9. B. Learoyd-C. Palmer (Qld) Chevrolet Corvette 1-min 44-secs 10 P. Brock-J. Brock (Vic) V8 Holden Ute 1-min 48-secs

OTHERS: 17. M. Doohan-M. Stacey (Qld) Mercedes-Benz CLK 55 2-min 18-secs 24. M. Coote-A. McLoughlan (Qld) Mazda MX-5 2-min 45-secs 44. B. Sheene (Qld)-F. White (Tas) Mercedes-Benz ML 55 4-min 8-sec 46. S. Hoinville-G. Foletta (Vic) Ford Falcon XR6 4-min 13-secs

CLASSIC COMPETITION: POS DRIVERS CAR PENALTY TIME 1. P. Stuart-M. Connolly (Vic) Porsche 911 34-secs

TOURING CLASSIC COMPETITION: POS DRIVERS CAR PENALTY TIME 1. P. Nichols-P. Blake (Tas) Austin Healey 2-min 24-secs

HISTORIC COMPETITION: POS DRIVERS CAR PENALTY TIME 1. M. Lane-R. Lane (NSW) Bugatti 2-min 40-secs

-www.targa.org

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Jason White , Jim Richards , Neal Bates , Peter Brock , Tony Quinn , Peter Fitzgerald , Ray Lintott , Andrew Miedecke