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Mazda has grabbed headlines at Targa Tasmania with the Mazda RX-8 SP driven by Steve Glenney and Bernie Webb finishing in 10th place on debut in the Modern Competition, while Brendan Reeves and Rhiannon Smyth brought the Mazda3 MPS home as the fastest 2WD Showroom car.

“This is a fantastic result for the only factory-backed team at Targa this year,” Mazda motorsport team manager Allan Horsley said.  “The Mazda3 MPS has again proven why it is a very serious hot hatch and all of us are just so impressed with the balance and sheer speed of the unproven RX-8 SP.

“Ultimately it’s not about results. What Targa does is showcase Mazda’s passion and commitment to delivering a fun to drive experience for our customers. This event, more than any other in Australia, is about bringing motorsports and the passion that it creates to the people.

“Our drivers and navigators did a great job this year but the real heroes of this Targa campaign have been our mechanics and crew.”

The turbocharged RX-8 SP survived the gruelling 2000km tarmac rally despite a number of teething troubles that included unstable boost pressure and overheating that could be blamed on an electronic problem as well as losing all but one gear yesterday.

“Despite our many issues the RX-8 SP has proved to be one of the best balanced, best braking cars I’ve driven and it has so much potential that it could be a race winner with a little more development,” Steve Glenney said. “In the wet this car is just so well balanced.”

Brendan Reeves at just 20 becomes the youngest pilot of the Mazda3 MPS and third driver to finish as the quickest two-wheel showroom car behind the wheel of the Mazda3 hot hatch.

Reeves had older sister and co-driver Rhianon Smyth with him every step of the way. 

“I can’t tell you how much this means to Rhianon and I. Bringing the Mazda3 MPS home as the quickest two-wheel drive car in Showroom is fantastic,” said Reeves. “Working for the Mazda factory team is a great experience and one that I hope we can repeat next year in the new generation Mazda3 MPS.”

Rick Bates, who won the 2WD Showroom class in the Mazda3 MPS three years ago, had a frustrating end to his and co-driver Anthony McLoughlin’s campaign. The car lost a lot of time yesterday when the turbo failed and it continued to suffer until lunchtime today.

“Not the way either of us would like to finish Targa for Mazda but I guess this was not our year. But it was pleasure to race with Mazda again and the Mazda3 MPS once again proved to be a great package. Let’s hope we can come back bigger and better next year.”

Visit www.mazda.com.au/targa for photos, videos and audio grabs from Targa Tasmania.

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