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Launceston driver Greg Garwood will attempt to become the first competitor to win both modern and classic outright sections of Targa Wrest Point, when he competes in next month’s event in Southern Tasmania.

Garwood won the 2009 event in the modern competition in a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, but has garaged his current Porsche (a GT2 CS) in favour of a 1977 Holden Torana SS 5000 Hatchback for this year’s rally.

Ever the perfectionist, Garwood wasn’t happy with the progress of preparation on his Porsche, but didn’t want to miss out in competing in his favourite event.

“It wasn’t quite ready and needed more work done on the shock absorbers,” Garwood said.

The 2009 outright winner became aware fellow Launceston Targa competitor and Holden Torana SLR5000 driver David Cooper had a spare classic car, so Garwood struck a deal which will see him and regular navigator John Allen, from Queensland, chasing a unique Targa Wrest Point double.

“John wasn’t too keen at first and he called the car a jazzed-up Sunbird, but when I took him for a spin, he quickly changed his mind and wanted me to put his name on the side of the car straight away,” Garwood said.

The pair expect to be classic outright contenders in the car, which has been expertly prepared by Brad Sherriff, of Boost Automotive.

Garwood is no stranger to classic rallying, and in 2000 finished second in the classic outright competition in Targa Tasmania, in a 1974 Porsche RSR.

“If I can get on the pace notes early enough into the event, we should give outright classic a real shake,” Garwood said.

One of his biggest dangers will be Queensland pairing Donn Todd and Dean Tighe in Todd’s rapid V8-powered 1971 Ford Capri Perana.

The defending Australian Targa Championship classic outright champions are aiming for back to back titles and with Targa Wrest Point being the third round of the four-round championship, a good result next month is critical to their title defence.

The pair is currently leading the championship after a fifth place in the wet at Targa Adelaide and a victory at Targa High Country, in Victoria, in November, which also included an impressive seventh place outright against modern and showroom competition cars.

However, they won’t be taking any chances at Targa Wrest Point after almost losing the championship in the final round in last year’s Targa Tasmania, when their Capri developed fuel pump problems.

“We limped home and won the championship by the skin of our teeth - we found out later the problem was actually to do with a strainer in the fuel tank,” Todd explained.

“We don’t expect any dramas like we had last year at Targa Tasmania, but just in case, it’s important to get a good result at Targa Wrest Point as far as the championship goes,” he said.

 “Apart from the fuel issues, we’ve had a good run with the car and it’s been really competitive.

“We’ve won Targa High Country twice in a row now and we were third at Targa Wrest Point last year, but our main aim is to have fun, hopefully do well in classic and finish as high up the outright order as we can against all the modern guys - if we win the championship, that’s a bonus.”

Classic cars make up more than a third of the field for this year’s Targa Wrest Point and other contenders in what will surely be a fierce battle for classic outright honours will include South Australian team Roger Paterson and Richard Geue in a 1974 Porsche 911RS.

Queensland husband and wife Keith and Maryanne Callinan will also be on the pace in their awesome 1972 De Tomasa Pantera, while NSW-WA combination Matthew Cardinaels and Jason Page will be pushing for a podium in their1972 Datsun 240Z.

Meanwhile, Queensland’s Michael and Stacey Reynolds will also be hoping to improve their championship standings in their 1981 Holden Commodore, after two top 10 results in Targa Adelaide and Targa High Country, and will be hoping to break into the top five in the title with another consistent performance at Targa Wrest Point.

Targa Wrest Point is the third round of the four-round Australian Targa Championship series and will be held on roads in the Huon Valley and surrounding areas, South of Hobart, on February 2 and 3.
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