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The winner of the classic car outright competition at Targa Adelaide last year, South Australian Craig Haysman, is looking to make it back-to-back titles in 2013 when the event takes place this week.

Haysman will fire up his magnificently restored 1981 Triumph TR7 V8 at the Adelaide Showgrounds next Wednesday, for the first of 29 stages across five days that will test all cars in the event, but particularly the classic cars, built before 1986.

Haysman, who debuted his V8 Triumph in Adelaide last year, will face many challengers, but good judges are thinking that Roger Patterson could be his biggest threat.

Patterson finished third last year in his 1974 Porsche 911 RS, one minute 43 seconds off the winning pace, but the Adelaide surgeon has worked hard on his car to improve his speed on the twisting stages in the hills.

Haysman had a strong end to 2012, adding to his local victory with a third at Targa High Country in Victoria in November.

At the season finale in April, Targa Tasmania, mechanical issues ruined his event and his championship dreams, frustrations that he hopes are now well behind him.

“On the final day with just a few stages to go we were over a minute clear of our nearest rival for both the Targa Tasmania title and the CAMS Australian Targa Championship series win,” Haysman said.

“We had a gearbox problem with three stages to go and all that just disappeared. It was pretty devastating really.”

Since that setback Haysman has worked hard on getting his car ready, as well as on his own preparation.

“There is a lot of pressure for us to go back-to-back in Adelaide,” Haysman said.

“We have put in the maximum amount of preparation for the car. Targa is such a hard event it takes a lot out of the car, but we’ve put the hard yards in and hopefully it all pays off.

“This year is a really compact course that is very technical, very challenging, but that should suit our car very well.”

Haysman is well aware that he won’t have it all his own way though.

“I see Roger Patterson as being a big challenger. He’s done some recent local events and did extremely well and he’s definitely getting faster,” Haysman said.

“Tim Knappstein is a seasoned campaigner. His Datsun 240Z is fast and he’s another one certainly not to be discounted.”

As well as outright honours, Haysman will be in with a chance for the Late Classic handicap title, but Paterson is probably the man most likely to succeed here if he can get his car to the finish line.

In Early Classic handicap (pre 1972), Victorian Jack Waldron is always in the hunt in his reliable 1955 Fiat Abarth 750, although others, including Knappstein, would like to keep all the trophies in South Australia this coming weekend.

Targa Adelaide starts at the Adelaide Showgrounds with a special spectator friendly stage on Wednesday night, before heading to the hills for a further four days of competitive action across more than 250 kilometres of closed roads.

The event concludes with a champagne celebration at The Parade in Norwood early on Sunday afternoon.
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