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Targa Wrest Point, to be held south of Hobart on February 1 and 2, is set to be the toughest yet in the event’s six year history, following a major reworking of the course, adding competitor and spectator appeal.

The reward for competitors is a greater variety of roads on a course that takes in 193 competitive kilometres across 14 stages.

The new course will also give fans greater access, with the famous Esperance Coast road being used for the first time in both directions, sure to be a hit with the enthusiastic local community at Dover.

Around 100 cars are expected to take part in the event, round three of the CAMS Australian Targa Championship, which starts and ends at Wrest Point on the shores of the Derwent River.

Although some stages are being used twice, no stage will be repeated in the same direction, thereby ensuring the most testing Targa West Point course presented to date.

Unlike past years, the run up to the Tahune Airwalk and back will only be used once, allowing full access to tourists across the afternoon.

The Longley and Cygnet stages have decades of Targa history dating back to the first Targa Tasmania in 1992, but at this year’s Wrest Point event, they will be run in the opposite direction for the first time, the reverse of Longley to be known as Neika, while the reverse run over Cygnet will be called Wattle Grove.

Event Director, Stuart Benson, believes the changes provide interest to the competitors by keeping the challenges fresh.

“There will be people who have done stages like Longley more than 20 times in their Targa career, but now for the first time they will face starting from the other end, which will make it a completely different challenge,” Benson said.

“The people of Dover have always supported Targa events, so it is great to be able to offer them increased spectating with two passes on the Esperance Coast road on Saturday, because it really is one of the most spectacular pieces of road used for tarmac rallying anywhere in the world.

Saturday’s action starts at Wrest Point at 7.30am, with the Lucaston stage the first test, as in previous years. The course then takes in the Esperance Coast and Tahune Airwalk roads before finishing with the Longley and Neika stages.

In total, the cars will complete 107 competitive kilometres across seven stages on the opening day.

Sunday has another seven stages, including Pelverata, Nicholls Rivulet, Gardners Bay, Woodridge and Oyster Cove, and at 86 kilometres is longer than recent Sunday outings at Targa Wrest Point. The podium finish, champagne shower and celebrations that mark the end of the rally, will take place at Wrest Point from 1:30pm.

“The lush Huon Valley is the perfect home for Targa Wrest Point with its stunning scenery, passionate supporters and challenging road network,” Benson said.

“It’s a fantastic rally and, for many, the perfect lead-up to Targa Tasmania in May.”

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