Hollywood star heads Targa entry
- 2nd March 2007, 3:02pm
Eric Bana will head a star-filled entry list for 2007 Targa Tasmania, when Australia’s ultimate tarmac rally takes place from April 17-22.
It will be Bana’s second outing in Targa Tasmania, but 2007 holds particular appeal for the star of Chopper, Troy and Munich, as he will debut his newly-prepared Ford Falcon XB GT Coupe.
The car, which has been a treasured possession for 23 years, has just completed a major two year restoration, and Bana was keen to slot the Targa into a busy schedule to give it a first outing.
His Targa Tasmania debut was back in 1996, and the international star has taken time this week to familiarise himself with the roads to be used in the 2007 tour around the Island State.
Whilst Bill Pye’s Porsche Carrera will start favourite in Classic Outright, good judges believe that Bana, with his co-driver, long-time friend and fellow motoring enthusiast, Tony Ramunno, is certainly top-ten material.
Event Director, Mark Perry, says Bana has shown good form in a range of motorsport events.
“Eric is a good steerer and the car he has prepared is an absolutely beautiful piece of machinery,” Perry said.
“If Eric has a good run I reckon he could sneak into the top ten outright, and when you consider some Porsches and other V8’s he’s up against, including Cattlin in his `Mean Green’ Mustang, that would be a pretty exceptional performance.”
“No doubt it’s good for the event to have someone of Eric’s calibre taking part. Motorsport is in his blood, so he’s jumped at the opportunity to spend six days driving his new toy around some of the best touring roads in the world.”
While the roads have huge appeal, it’s the chance to get away from in front of the camera and behind the steering wheel of his recently rebuilt Falcon that has Bana particularly excited.
“The car has been a labour of love, really,” Bana said.
“Targa Tasmania is a fantastic showcase of classic cars, and I reckon our XB GT Coupe should bring back a lot of good memories for many of the fans watching the rally as it makes its way around Tasmania.”
Classic Outright contender, Peter O’Keefe and Julie Winton-Monet, who will return in their Torana SLR/5000, agree it will be good to have an XB GT Coupe out on the roads this year.
“The spirit of the event is really about classic cars, so while the modern cars go about the event efficiently, it is the Classic cars that hold so much appeal to drivers and fans alike,” O’Keefe said.
The Modern category has again attracted some of the biggest names in Australian motorsport, with previous winners Jason & John White, Tony Longhurst and recent Rally Tasmania and Mt. Buller winner, Alan Simonsen joining event-legends and eight-time winners, Jim Richards & Barry Oliver in the chase for Modern Outright honours.
Jason White, who teamed with John in winning Targa Tasmania in 2005, is hopeful of producing another win in his home-state event.
“We’d love to win again, but the quality of the event means the quality of the field is always increasing, and getting to Hobart in first place is certainly tougher than it’s ever been.”
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