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Fresh stages and a sharp increase in competitive distance will see the 2020 edition of Targa Tasmania become the longest endurance test in the event’s rich history. Following exhaustive planning over several months, Targa has revealed that next year’s blockbuster tarmac rally from April 27 to May 2 will embrace 626 kilometres of timed running across 38 competitive stages. This represents a sharp increase in total distance compared to the 2019 course which featured 473 kilometres and 33 stages. The highly revised course will introduce two brand new stages at Golden Valley and Poatina on the opening day and feature a re-introduction of the popular Rinadeena stage (35km) between Queenstown and Strahan on day three which was last used in 2014. “It will return Targa Tasmania back to the days of a genuine endurance rally, where simply finishing will again be seen as a major achievement,” Targa Australia chief executive Mark Perry said. “This is the essence of the event and it is important to recognise this as we head towards our 30th anniversary celebrations in 2021. “Competitors will be delighted with the new course and the new challenge of the event, and we know we need to constantly keep the event fresh to ensure its on-going success.” The perilous channel loop of stages to the south of Hobart, that includes Oyster Cove, Gardners Bay and Cygnet, will be repeated on the final day. Added to Pelverata and the traditional finishing stage, Longley, the action is set to add a further sting to the tail when competitors are focussing on the finish line in Salamanca Place. Spreading the economic benefits around the state will see Launceston used as the event’s base from Sunday through to Wednesday morning, with the field staying at Strahan for two nights and Hobart hosting the cars and crews on the Friday and Saturday nights. Monday takes in the northern stages, Tuesday heads to the East Coast before the event heads to north and north-west for two days. Friday sees the traditional run from Queenstown to Hobart before the final expanded southern loop on the Saturday. Targa organisers revealed that as part of the changes to the course for 2020, George Town will not be run. The opening day traditionally featured either a low mileage trio of stages or a single stage centred around George Town. In 2019 the field faced just 19.65 competitive kilometres on Leg One. With the emphasis now on total competitive kilometres the opening leg will now feature a full day of competition totalling 76.50 kilometres, starting with the return for the first time since 2016 of the short Legana dash. Targa chief executive Mark Perry said the goal with the new course was to turn day one from a warm-up to a day of real competition. “To achieve our goal of the longest competitive course in the events history, some tough decisions were needed,” he said. “The opening day of Targa Tasmania has seen very few competitive kilometres for the last 25 years, with either a single stage at George Town or a three stage day, ending up in George Town. “Whilst the history of Targa Tasmania is of vital importance, change is a part of the event’s history also and we felt, as did the local council, that now was the right time for this change. “We have moved to a focus on traditional closed road stages which are a perfect test of driver and car and what Targa Tasmania has become famous for.” The 2020 course is set as a precursor to the 30th anniversary course next year.
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