An expanded field of up to 300 cars will tackle the 12th annual Classic Adelaide on November 19-23 – and the fight will be on again to see which of Australia’s masters of tarmac stage rallying comes out on top after four days of competition.

Widely regarded as one of the world’s great classic events for its challenging roads and beautiful wine-country scenery, Classic Adelaide in 2008 will take entrants on a tour over 1000 kilometres of the Adelaide region of South Australia, including more than 250 kms in 33 closed-road special stages.

Crews will participate in categories named Classic Tour, Thoroughbred Tour, Regularity and Competition, the last of these subject to the most intense following as aces such as Jim Richards, Kevin Weeks and Rex Broadbent battle for outright honour in cars built no later than 1990.

Weeks, who scored a nail-biting 12.1 second win last year to end the five-year streak of fellow Porsche driver Rex Broadbent, says he is leaving nothing to chance in preparing to defend his crown.

“We realise this next one isn’t going to be easy, because everyone’s cars will be faster,” said Weeks, one of South Australia’s most experienced rally and circuit racers.

“I know there are a couple of teams that have built pretty special cars for this year and we’ve rebuilt our own Porsche completely. It will be better and faster and we have fixed the gearbox fault that nearly cost us victory on the final day last year – it will never happen again.

“As a South Australian and because it is so challenging and enjoyable, Classic Adelaide is one of the big events of the year for me. I’ve been competing in other rallies and races throughout the season just to keep up my skills for Adelaide.”

Classic Adelaide is unfinished business for the legendary Jim Richards, who has won Targa Tasmania seven times but is yet to clinch the Classic Adelaide title.

Richards, an official ambassador for Classic Adelaide 2008, finished third last year in his 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo.

He knows he has another big job to overtake the more powerful Porsche 911s of Weeks and Broadbent, while defending against a host of other rapid steerers expected to include Roger Paterson, Adam Kaplan, Nick Streckheisen and Classic class winner Cameron Wearing.

Richards said: “We’ve entered again and I can’t wait. We’ll have to push our little Porsche pretty hard but it’s a really great event, for sure.”

Although the rally runs from Thursday to Sunday, activities for entrants and spectators cover a full week, starting with the traditional BEA Car Show in Victoria Square on Sunday 16 November.

The cars can be viewed undergoing technical scrutiny at the Torrens Parade Grounds on Monday and Tuesday and on Wednesday taking part in the King William Street lunchtime parade before the Prologue competition, which determines starting order for Thursday.

The rally visits the Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley on Thursday, Southern Vales and Fleurieu Peninsula on Friday, Adelaide Hills on Saturday and Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale on Sunday.

Reserved areas all along the route, which includes one new stage in the Barossa Valley, will allow good viewing for spectators.

They also will be able to mingle among the crews and cars at the Hilton Adelaide daily start, Peter Lehmann’s Winery, Victor Harbor, Birdwood National Motor Museum, McLaren’s on the Lake, Maccesfield, the Gouger Street Party on Friday night and the East Terrace Party at the official finish on Sunday.

Apart from the new Barossa stage, Clerk of Course Ivar Stanelis has introduced some detail changes to the event schedule to assist competitors. Queues at the start of special stages will be reduced and dedicated 20-minute service breaks will be provided just before, instead of during, the daily lunch stops.

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