Launceston driver Greg Garwood has his sights set on a second consecutive Targa Wrest Point victory when the tarmac rally gets under way in Hobart on Saturday, January 30.

Driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, Garwood and his Queensland co-driver, John Allen, won last year’s inaugural event by the narrow of margin of just three seconds, and knows that a repeat victory in 2010 will be just as hard-fought.

Australia’s best tarmac rally drivers will be on show in the two-day event, including 2009 Targa Tasmania winner Tony Quinn (Nissan GT-R), racing legend Jim Richards (Porsche 911 GT2 C2), Kevin Weeks (Lamborghini Gallardo).

Fellow Tasmanian hot-shots, Burnie's Jason White in a Lamborghini and Jamie Vandenberg in a Skelta G-Force, will also be in the mix when the rally ends at Wrest Point on Sunday afternoon.

“We’ll certainly have our work cut out to repeat last year’s win, but we’ve increased the horsepower of our seven year-old Porsche GT3 after installing a new computer,” Garwood said.

“That’s increased the power from 390 horsepower to 412 horsepower, and hopefully that will give our chances a boost.”

Garwood says that any one of around ten drivers could win the sister event to Targa Tasmania, but sees Jason White as his biggest challenger.

“I’ve followed Jason and his Lamborghini around race circuits plenty of times and his car has a lot more power than ours. He also has a new paddle-shift sequential gearbox and will be very hard to beat. We’ll just have to use the superior braking of the Porsche to try and keep up with him.”

Aside from the upgraded ECU, Garwood’s 2003 model Porsche is still in standard trim, including having the original carpets fitted. He says they could remove 60 kilograms of weight from the car, but admits that he likes the smooth, quiet feel of the car as it is.

Garwood took his car to victory at the Phillip Island 300 circuit race back in November. While the result confirmed his circuit speed, he sees his continued teaming with co-driver John Allen as a real key to his success in tarmac special stage rallying.

“John is one of the best co-drivers in Australia and he has been a real key to our success in the past. I haven’t done a tarmac rally since winning last January, so it will be important that we are right on the pace from the very first stage.

“We’ll spend a few days making our pacenotes for the event next week, and that should ready us for two fast days of rallying.”

The reconnaissance will be a change in tact for Garwood, who doesn’t usually drive the course before the event, usually leaving Allen to make the pacenotes on his own.

“John and I really work well as a team, but his year I’ve decided I need to find the time to do reconnaissance myself so that we take every advantage possible,” Garwood explained.

“He pushes me a lot on the stages, and hopefully our preparation will help our chances, despite most of our opposition having 200 horsepower more than we have.”

The Launceston civil contractor is also hoping that the weather plays its part in the result of the event as well.

“Although it’s probably unlikely, wet weather for the event would be nice as the GT3 is perhaps the best car in the wet. But we’ll just have to take the weather as it comes,” he added.

Starting and finishing at Wrest Point in Hobart, day one of Targa Wrest Point will see competitors tackle seven Targa stages with a competitive distance of 127 kilometres, while a further seven tests and 83 competitive kilometres will conclude the event on day two.

The second running of the event has attracted around 160 entries from seven different countries. Targa Wrest Point is open to modern, showroom and classic cars, and is the second round of the Australian Tarmac Championship.  Last year’s event injected more than $3 million into the southern Tasmanian economy.

Further details about Targa Wrest Point can be found at:  www.targawrestpoint.com.au

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