BROCK CONFIDENT OF TARGA WIN - RICHARDS STILL A FIRM FAVOURITE Ten times Bathurst Enduro champion Peter Brock today made the stunning claim that he can win the 15th anniversary Targa Tasmania in his Australian-made Daytona Coupe, while the...
BROCK CONFIDENT OF TARGA WIN - RICHARDS STILL A FIRM FAVOURITE
Ten times Bathurst Enduro champion Peter Brock today made the stunning claim that he can win the 15th anniversary Targa Tasmania in his Australian-made Daytona Coupe, while the event's top drivers agree 'Gentleman' Jim Richards is the firm favourite to take the win in his two-wheel-drive Porsche GT2.
During Targa Tasmania's annual pre-event media conference held today in Launceston at the event's official start venue, Country Club Tasmania, the ten-time Bathurst Enduro champion boldly stated his intentions to dazzle crowds with a podium finish at this year's event.
The 61-year-old multiple Targa Tasmania competitor expressed incredible confidence in his car's potential, despite only having experienced limited time behind the wheel.
"The Daytona's acceleration is fantastic. How it's going to translate into on the road times I'm not too sure, but it seems to me as if the potential for a win is there," said Brock. "Obviously the Monaro's a terrific car to drive at Targa Tasmania but you need something with a better power to weight ratio to go that extra mile."
Resonating from Brock's words today was a distinct air of confidence that one can assume only comes with his three decade-long experience in professional motor sport.
"Targa is challenging from a personal point of view, and as a race car driver you set yourself standards about how quickly you should be able to do things, and it might not necessarily mean winning it outright, but I think you've got to be able to satisfy yourself that you're doing a pretty good job."
Brock's long-time friend, Targa Tasmania master Jim Richards, sat humbly as Subaru driver Dean Herridge, reigning event champion Jason White and 2005 runner-up Launceston's Greg Garwood all praised the 58-year-old's formidable record at the 2100km-long tarmac rally.
"Jim Richards is the man to beat. When you combine dry weather, Jim, Barry and the GT-2 it's an almost unbeatable combination," said White while praying for the skies to open up upon his Porsche-rival.
Launceston's Greg Garwood concurred. "When I think about winning this event I don't think about standing on the podium, I think about being the one to beat Jim Richards. It's not a win unless you beat Jim."
Targa Tasmania newcomer Dean Herridge said his best lessons would be learnt from the Targa-master, Richards, who he described as the man with the greatest combination of strategy and experience.
"I think the biggest challenge we're going to have this event is strategy," said the Targa Tasmania rookie. "A lot of us are going to be learning on the run and trying to make good decisions, so it's going to be an interesting five days."
Following Richards' forced move back to the two-wheel-drive GT2, the need for fine weather has never been more important if he intends on notching his eighth Targa Tasmania win.
I have never known a Targa Tasmania that has been dry all the way through," said the thirteen-time competitor. "But I think we'll be competitive for sure in Targa if it's dry."
Not having won the event since 2003, Richards' return to Targa Tasmania each year is a combination of determination for a title reclaim and his pure love of the event.
"The motivation's easy to maintain, the fitness part of it is not a problem and the enjoyment part is more than ever, so I don't see why I should stop doing it."
Also present today was former 500cc motorcycle World Championship frontrunner and Network Ten motor sport commentator, Daryl Beattie, who is trying out all four wheels for the first time at this year's event.
An expected field of 245 competitors will cross the Start Line tomorrow at the Country Club Tasmania - officially opening the 15th anniversary staging of Targa Tasmania - starting with the 4.22km Temco Prologue at George Town where the vehicle seeding order will be decided for Day One of competition on April 26.
To view a full list of entries (updated daily) received for the 15th anniversary Targa Tasmania, including images and crew profiles: www.targa.org.au