Mazda wins Targa Tasmania – 2WD Showroom
Apr 21, 2008
After 2,000km and 40 arduous competition stages Mazda Australia has taken honours in Targa Tasmania’s 2WD Showroom category.
The Mazda3 MPS driven by Alister McRae and navigated by Iain Stewart beat a number of cars to the coveted title, including the TRD Aurion of reigning ARC Champion Simon Evans.
McRae proved the mettle of the Mazda3 MPS turbocharged hot hatch by finishing 19th outright amongst a field littered with highly-modified Porsches, Lamborghinis and 4WD rally cars. McRae’s overall penalty time of 19minutes 30seconds would also have been good enough for the 2WD Mazda to win the event’s 4WD Showroom category.
“It’s incredible to win Targa on the first attempt. The Mazda3 MPS showed its true potential throughout this challenging five-day event.
“Mazda has a proud history of Motorsport in Australia and Iain and I are ecstatic to have contributed to it.”
It was a bittersweet victory for McRae. He inherited the honour from his team-mate Rick Bates who was forced to withdraw after his Mazda3 MPS suffered a broken fan belt at the end of the arduous 50km Mt Arrowsmith stage.
Right from Day One resident Mazda driver Bates had the 2WD Showroom title stitched up. He started today’s final leg with a lead of 50 seconds over McRae.
Before the fan belt gave way, Bates and his navigator Rhianon Smyth were on fire. They hosed their way through the day’s first three stages and were poised to trouble the top ten.
Bates is philosophical about his fortunes during this year’s Targa.
“It really is disappointing for us not to finish. After five long days it would have been great for us to cross the finish line. But that’s the nature of motorsport.”
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