For just the second first time in the event’s history, the iconic Australian Ute will compete in Targa Tasmania in 2008.

But unlike the first time when Peter Brock was given special permission to enter his Holden Ute in 2001, Targa organisers have given the green light for Utes to become a regular part of the competition in Modern, Showroom, Rookie Modern or the Tour sections of the event.

Quick to take advantage of the new rule was Launceston’s Michael Nichols, who has entered his 2003 Holden Commodore Ute in the Rookie Rally modern section of the event.

The Rookie Rally was introduced last year in Targa with great success, allowing first time entrants to get a taste of the event without having to commit to the full five days of competition.

The 24-year-old is looking forward to putting his Ute through the first three days of competition in Targa, and racing alongside some of the legends of motorsport like Jim Richards and Tony Longhurst.

“To compete on the same roads as some of the big-guns is great,” Nicholas said.

“They will be miles in front of us, but we hope to stay at the pointy end of the field and be competitive.”

More than 40 Rookies have signed up to take part in their first tarmac adventure, which will take them on a five day adventure along some of the best rally roads in Australia.

A record number of entries have been received from Australia, the USA, United Kingdom, Japan, United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong.

Targa Tasmania 2008 starts in Launceston on April 15 and finishes in Hobart on April 20.

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