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Phil Buggee and Paul Freame are ready to build on the success of their fantastic result in the 2008 Targa Tasmania, where they finished a strong second outright in the two-wheel drive Showroom category.

The pair have once again entered their Bits of Italy-prepared Fiat Punto Sport in Australia’s ultimate tarmac rally, which will be held over six days from April 28 to May 3.

With another year of testing and development on the Fiat Punto Sport, the small team involved in preparing and maintaining the car are hoping that all their hard work will translate into another win in the diesel class, and a strong showing in the outright competition within the showroom class.
“At each event the Punto has entered it has attracted a lot of media and spectator interest,” driver Phil Buggee says. “Initially viewed as just a curiosity, it wasn’t long before the car’s outstanding stage times were beginning to be noticed and applauded.”

As a showroom class car in Targa Tasmania, the little Fiat has all the standard creature comforts as installed by the Fiat factory, including electric windows, climate control, stability control.

In these tight financial times, the excellent fuel economy of the Punto is really appreciated by the team as there are often few refuel opportunities during each day of Targa.

“The car has often consumed less than a tank full of diesel over a whole day’s competition,” Buggee adds.
Frugal fuel consumption is one thing, but not if it were at the expense of performance. Fortunately, the Punto is able to pull strongly in each of the six gears, all the way to the ‘redline’ in most.

Targa Tasmania is a test of man (or woman) and machine over six tough days. The diesel Fiat Punto may not have the speed and performance of a Nissan GTR, a Lamborghini Gallardo or a Porsche 911 GT2, but it’s entry in Targa is just as important.

“The beauty of Targa Tasmania is that the event is open to just about anyone in any type of car,” Event Director, Mark Perry, says. “The Showroom class, in particular, opens the event up to standard production cars that don’t cost the earth to buy or run, and the Fiat Punto diesel is a perfect example of that.”

Targa Tasmania 2009, the 18th running of the world-renowned event, begins with a prologue through the streets of Georgetown on Tuesday, April 28, with the action proper getting underway the next day.

While primarily based in Launceston, the event will have an overnight stop in Strahan on the west coast of the Apple Isle, before finishing in the capital, Hobart, on Sunday, May 3.
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