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Subaru driver, Ben Newman, is set for Targa Wrest Point, looking to take Showroom 4WD honours in his Impreza WRX STI, complete with a new co-driver.

Since making his Targa debut at the same event back in 2012, Newman has had his business partner, Crichton Lewis, calling the notes.

The Launceston pair has shown rapid improvement since making their first appearance and are regulars on the Showroom 4WD podium, including notching up their first class victory at Targa Adelaide in August.

But Lewis is overseas, so another from the Neil Buckby Motors crew, sales executive Tim Kulhanek, is taking his turn next to Newman.

When Lewis started, he had no co-driver experience at all. His replacement comes to the job well credentialed, having previously been involved in numerous Targas.

Newman will face a tough battle in his quest for a first win on home soil.

Queenslanders Scott Millar and Christopher Dean, and Greg and Rhonda Burrowes, driving Mitsubishi Lancers, will be keen to take the silverware north.

West Australians Stuart Liddle and Michael Lloyd, also in a Lancer, are strong performers in this class that is growing in popularity, and competitiveness.

Tasmania has crews that are keen for a win at one of their home events. Launceston’s Luana Garwood, with teammate Suzanne Atkins, are one of the few all female crews in action.

Another Launceston combination, this times a father-son team, Ralph and Malcolm Norton, will also contest the class in a Subaru WRX STI.

NSW driver, Angus Kennard, has proven quick in recent times, and he is another in a Subaru, and has form, having taken the honours at the last start, Targa High Country in November.

Introducing a different flavour to the Lancers and WRXs is Hobart’s David Watson, drive a 2004 Volkswagen Golf R32.

But as one of the favourites, Newman says he is looking forward to the challenge.

“We did our very first event at Wrest Point, so it holds good memories for me,” Newman said.

“It’s fair to say that we have developed as a team a fair bit since then. We have the car better sorted and there is no substitute for time behind the wheel in this sport.

“We know every time we go out we are going to be in a really tight battle with Showroom 4WD. It’s heaps of fun and I’m not brave enough to predict who will come out on top by the time we get back to the champagne spray on the Sunday night.

“But we’ll all be giving it a red hot go. There are lots of Tasmanians in it, so I reckon, given we sell Subarus in this state, it would be good to see one of the Tasmanians driving a Subaru come up with the win.”

Targa Wrest Point gets underway on Saturday February 1 and finishes back at Wrest Point on Sunday February 2.

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