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Driver and co-driver. Best friends. Husband and wife. It’s not often that the three terms go hand in hand, but that’s the case with New South Wales Targa Tasmania competitors Wayne and Dianne Gerlach.

The 58-year olds will line up for their third Targa Tasmania, driving their 1974 Porsche 911 in the C1 class for standard cars.

The talented Gerlachs have notched up an impressive list of competitive outings in recent years, including fully pacenoted events such as Targa and Classic Adelaide, as well as navigational challenges with the Porsche Club of NSW and the Classic Rally Club.

“Dianne and I have competed on a wide range of classic navigational rallies and speed events,” Wayne said. “We’re husband and wife, and best friends - although that is sometimes tested inside the rally car,” he admits.

Their 2.7 litre Porsche 911 has been maintained as virtually a standard road car after being used by a few careful owners since it was made in 1974. Aside from the necessary safety equipment, the Porsche sports no performance modifications or wild aerodynamics, in order to keep it within the C1 category.

Wayne and Dianne entered the Targa Rookie Rally in 2007, and were soon hooked. They competed in the full Targa in 2008, and are back for more action and enjoyment this year.

“We’re aiming for a Targa Trophy by doing every stage inside the designated trophy time,” Wayne says. “As we run a C1 class car, we’ll never be at the pointy end, but the enjoyment is immense.

“We use commercial pacenotes, checking them beforehand when we spend time in Tasmania a few weeks before the event.”

They admit that the attraction of entering Targa is the fun, the thrills, and the real buzz that they get from competing. Wet or dry, they enjoy the event to the fullest, with the adrenaline getting them from start to finish.

“Each day is a bit harder, but the adrenalin keeps us going strong. It’s a blast,” Wayne says. “Targa Tasmania has great roads, great cars, great officials and competitors, and huge local interest all the way. It’s a real top event.”

With sponsorship from Peter Lehmann Wines and Tyrepower Rosebery, the mother and father of two can’t wait for the end of April to roll around. Their Porsche will be serviced by Grant Geelan’s Autohaus Hamilton, which also looks after the Porsche of Classic front runners Bill Pye and John Ireland.

The Gerlachs are the perfect advertisement for Targa Tasmania. No matter what your age, level of ability, the size of your cheque book or the result you’re after, Targa offers something for everyone.

And just to ensure the Gerlach name will be around tarmac rallying for a few years to come, one of their children has just bought his first classic rally car - a 1973 Ford Escort RS2000.

Targa Tasmania gets underway with a prologue around the streets of Georgetown on Tuesday, April 28. The event proper begins in Launceston on April 29, with overnight stops in the city until Saturday morning. The event then moves to the west coast town of Strahan for one night, before finishing in Hobart on Sunday, May 3.

Australia’s ultimate tarmac rally has attracted over 250 entries, from six countries.
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