Great start for Mazda’s Targa campaign
- 30th April 2009, 9:58am
Mazdaâ€™s 2009 Targa Tasmania campaign got off to a flying start today with the Mazda3 MPS of Brendan Reeves the fastest two-wheel drive Showroom car, while the rotary-powered Mazda RX-8 SP nudges the Modern top-ten.
Mazda3 MPS drivers Brendan Reeves and Rick Bates went head-to-head in their twin showroom-spec hot-hatches. 20-year-old Reeves eventually finished the day third in Showroom, 18-seconds ahead of his more experienced team-mate.
â€œIt was so fantastic to finally be out there competing,â€ said Reeves. â€œThe Mazda3 MPS handled beautifully in todayâ€™s open and flowing stages but I canâ€™t wait until we get on tighter and more twisting roads.
â€œTarga Tasmania is a very long event, and this is only day one so we have to keep in mind our long-term strategy for the rally â€“ to finish, and finish well.â€
Bates, a more experienced Mazda3 MPS pilot, wasnâ€™t rattled by his younger team-mateâ€™s performance and chose to focus on his own strategy for tomorrow.
â€œThis is Brendanâ€™s first Targa and I think heâ€™s doing a great job. Plus thereâ€™s nothing wrong with a bit of healthy competition between friends â€“ as long as he doesnâ€™t beat me,â€ joked Bates.
â€œTomorrow is another day and weâ€™re focused on getting through the day and making sure our tyres go the distance.
â€œThe Mazda3 MPS will really come into its own tomorrow as the stages really start to tighten up, so weâ€™ll see what tomorrow brings.â€
Reeves and Bates remain hot on the tail of two, four-wheel drive showroom rivals.
There were no signs of rain in Northern Tasmania today as Mazdaâ€™s two-wheel-drive triple turbo treat made its way over the dayâ€™s nine open and flowing closed-road stages.
After fixing the electrical gremlin that scuppered the Mazda RX-8 SP at yesterdayâ€™s Prologue, the high-revving rotary sports car powered through the day at the hand of reigning Targa Champion Steve Glenney.
Glenney, competing in the fiercely-contested Modern Competition, eventually finished the day 11th outright, just 15 seconds off his tenth placed rival.
â€œAfter yesterdayâ€™s uncertain start the Mazda RX-8 SP really showed its true capabilities today,â€ said Glenney. â€œIt handles and drives beautifully, particularly after we made a very slight ride height adjustment which helped dial out a little bit of unwanted understeer.â€
â€œThis is one of the most competitive fields I have ever experienced at Targa Tasmania,â€ said Glenney. â€œI think there are about 12 really quick cars in this competition challenging for a podium finish and weâ€™re going to give it our best shot.â€
Mazda motorsport Allan Horsley is feeling good about the four days that lie ahead for his team.
â€œIt was a pretty satisfying day today, particularly with the Mazda RX-8 SP. Todayâ€™s stages didnâ€™t really suit our cars so to be on the pace at this early stage, we really couldnâ€™t ask for anything more.â€
Thursday sees a further nine stages over 81 competitive kilometres travelling from Launceston to St Helens and back, and includes the European rivalling and car breaking 14km Sideling stage.
Track the teamâ€™s progress at www.mazda.com.au/targa
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