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Mazda will drive home its commitment to motorsport in Australia with a turbocharged triple treat for Targa Tasmania 2009. Two Mazda3 MPS performance hatchbacks and a turbocharged Mazda RX-8 SP rotary sports coupe will headline Mazda's biggest attack on Targa Tasmania in over a decade.

Not content to merely make up the numbers, Mazda has secured a top notch driver line-up that will ensure all three Mazda Motorsport-prepared race cars perform at their peak.

Targa Tasmania 2008 winner, South Australian Steve Glenney ,will give the Mazda RX-8 SP its
motorsport debut. He will be partnered with his co-driver of four years, Bernie Webb.

“I’m excited to be chosen by Mazda Motorsport to play a role in the development of the Mazda RX- 8, and to be driving it in its Australian rally debut,” he said.

“The RX-8's a great looking car, the rotary engine is synonymous with Mazda’s Motorsport history in Australia, and I’m confident of getting a top result for Mazda.”

The two-pronged Mazda3 MPS attack will this year mix the best attributes of experience and youth. Australian rallying mainstay, Rick Bates, returns for his fourth Targa with Mazda, and is determined to achieve the top-ten finish that eluded him last year.

“We got a great result in 2007 and were agonisingly close in 2008. This year's a new beginning, and with the rally pedigree of the Mazda3 MPS under me, we've got a real opportunity to win the Showroom Competition and better our 2007 result," Bates said. 

In the second car is the brother and sister team of Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Smyth. This is Brendan's first Targa, but it's far from his first motorsport event. Together the siblings won the showroom category of the 2008 Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge behind the wheel of the same Mazda3 MPS they will be driving in Targa.

“I am really excited to be driving my first Targa with Mazda," says Reeves, who turned 20 in August.

 â€œThe Mazda3 MPS has a proven rally pedigree at endurance events like Targa, and I’ve already had some competitive time in the car, so I am confident I can get a great result for Mazda."

The 2009 Targa Tasmania runs from April 28 to May 3 and comprises around 1890km, including 465km across 40 competitive closed-road stages. The Mazda RX-8 will be competing in the Modern Competition whilst the Mazda3 MPS will be competing for honours in the Showroom 2WD Competition. All Modern and Showroom competitors are competing for outright honours.

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