Jim Richards fastest - Glenn Ridge crashes. Veteran Porsche driver Jim Richards clocked the fastest time and television personality Glenn Ridge became the first crasher in today's dramatic Temco Prologue opening to the 12th annual Targa Tasmania...
Jim Richards fastest - Glenn Ridge crashes.
Veteran Porsche driver Jim Richards clocked the fastest time and television personality Glenn Ridge became the first crasher in today's dramatic Temco Prologue opening to the 12th annual Targa Tasmania tarmac rally.
Richards, chasing his seventh Targa win, had a puncture, but still emerged quickest around the 4.2km street course in George Town with a time of 3-mins 13.37-secs in a turbo Porsche 911. The 55-year-old finished 1.30-secs ahead of second-placed Tony Quinn of Queensland in another Porsche 911.
Victorian Rex Broadbent was third in a Porsche 911, followed by Tasmanians John White and Jason White in a Nissan GTR.
Ridge, a former Channel Nine 'Sale of the Century' host and part-time motorsport competitor, crashed his Mazda RX-7 and damaged the rear of the car. Both Ridge and he navigator Bob Edwards escaped injury. Ridge said the Mazda would be repaired in time for him to resume racing in tomorrow's opening leg over eight stages in the Launceston and Devonport area.
Richards said he was unsure what caused the puncture during his opening stint in the rally, which continues until Sunday.
"I must have run over something on the road, but I didn't notice it when I was out there," he said. "The car felt slippery, probably because I was on new tyres and brakes. These punctures are always going to happen from time to time - I'm amazed I haven't had more of them in years gone by."
Ridge said his incident had brought back memories of his crash in the 1993 Targa rally when he was competing as a navigator.
"I 'juiced' it up around the turn and was going too quickly," he said. "The car got sideways and went into a garden belt. Luckily I just missed some tress and the War Memorial. You would think I was going for a part in 'Burke's Backyard!"
Jason White, third in 2002, was not discouraged at trailing three Porsches.
"We didn't want to give it 'ten-tenths' because it might have risked hitting a kerb," said White. "It was a nice, clean lap and we are ready to go tomorrow."
Multiple Bathurst 1000 winner Peter Brock, who was sixth in the 2002 Targa rally, finished 15th in a Holden Motorsport V8 Monaro with a time of 3-mins 28.04-secs.
"The vehicle felt a bit new, but by halfway it was performing much better once the tyres and brakes were 'bedded' in," said Brock.
Brock's Monaro team-mate Steven Richards did not participate in the Temco Prologue because of V8 Supercar testing commitments at Winton Raceway in Victoria with the Castrol Perkins team. Richards, second in this year's V8 Supercar Championship after three rounds, will be behind the wheel of the Monaro tomorrow.
Targa Clerk of Course Tom Snooks announced that Richards had been awarded a 'derived' time of 3-mins 31.18-secs for the Temco Prologue, which left him in 21st position. Snooks said the time allocated to Richards was the same as he recorded in the Temco Prologue in 2002.
Legendary Formula One commentator Murray Walker made a cautious Targa debut navigating in a Toyota Camry Sportiva driven by former Bathurst 1000 champion Colin Bond. They finished 73rd with 3-mins 49.18-secs.
"This is the first serious rally I have been in for many years - the last was in a 850cc Morris Minor," said Walker. "I have complete confidence in Colin (Bond). He is very thorough so I let him do everything today."
Tomorrow's opening leg starts and finishes in Launceston, and has a total competitive distance of 59.77km. The first cars will leave Launceston Civic Square at 8.45am.