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Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 RS driver, Martin Higgins, will have his sights set on a top ten finish in the Modern section when Australia’s ultimate tarmac rally gets under way in Launceston on April 15.

Higgins was running seventh in the 2007 Targa Tasmania before clutch and gearbox problems ended his event, mid-way through day four.

The nine-time Targa competitor has a best overall result of thirteenth, as well as taking a class and category win, but plans on bettering that in 2008.

Although his 2006 Evo 9 is only mildly modified, it has an interesting history.

“The car was the third light-weight Evo 9 in Australia, behind only Mitsubishi’s factory gravel and tarmac rally cars,” he says.

Higgins, from Bateau Bay in New South Wales, will be co-driven by Paul Hansen at Targa this year, and says that the logistics and paperwork that comes with an entry in the event is the biggest challenge in getting to the start.

However he has great backing from a loyal band of friends who will help to ensure that his car gets to the start of Targa next month.

“We have three people in our service crew,” he says. “Ross Forbes is our Motorsport Manager, and Craig Palmer will be attending his eighth Targa in a bid to help our car get to the end. We also have a rookie for Targa Tasmania - Ed Olyslagers. Ed has helped out previously with this car at Targa West, and with another car at Targa New Zealand in the past.”

It’s support like this that is needed for all competitors as they embark on five days of tarmac rallying on some of the world’s best hard-surfaced stages.

“The roads in Tasmania are sensational,” Higgins added, echoing the comments of just about any competitor who tackles Targa Tasmania.

And this year there’ll be a record number of competitors, with over 300 entrants from Australia, the USA, UK, UAE, Japan and Hong Kong.

The 17th anniversary Targa Tasmania is expected to have a global audience, with a television special being filmed during the event.

The rally roars into action on April 15 in the state’s north and will take competitors through the heart of Tasmania, to the Hobart finish line at Wrest Point on April 20.
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