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The Targa Tasmania course has been reshaped for the first time in five years, delivering an extra 70 competitive kilometres to entrants and an additional night to the state’s west coast.

The new 2012 course will see Launceston maintain its status as the event’s base for the first five nights – from Sunday to Thursday - but rally headquarters will then move to Strahan for Friday and Saturday nights, with the traditional finish in Hobart on Sunday afternoon.

George Town will still host the Prologue on Tuesday April 17, with the competitors tackling stages to the north of Launceston on the Wednesday with the traditional run to the East Coast maintained on the Thursday.

After a street festival in Launceston city on Thursday night, competitors will head towards Strahan where they will now spend two nights, taking advantage of the brilliant, but historically under utilised, roads of the west.

Cars will still return to Ulverstone on Saturday, April 21 for the lunch break before returning to Strahan for a second night.

Event Director, Mark Perry, believes the changes will boost the appeal of the event for competitors and provide a stimulus to the towns on the west coast.

“Five years ago we totally revamped the event and we said then we’d do it again after the 20th anniversary event in 2011.

“We need to keep the event fresh to maintain its appeal to competitors.

“We also like to spread the economic benefits that flow from hosting this major event around the state.

“Competitors like being based out of Strahan, and the surrounding towns like Queenstown and Zeehan will all benefit by drivers and crew spending an extra night there.

“It allows us to build the competitive kilometres up to 570, that’s 70 more than last year and 120 more than in 2010, and nearly 200 kilometres more than it was before the 2006 revamp.

“The feedback we are getting is that the competitors want more bang for their buck, and that means extra competitive kilometres.

“Modern cars are so much more reliable now, so we need to build distance to maintain Targa Tasmania as the ultimate tarmac test in the world of driver and car.”

“Bathurst is constrained by its history in terms of distance, but we have never been, and we recognise that a large part of the appeal of the event is the toughness of the challenge. We want Targa Tasmania to maintain is status as the mother of all Targas.

“That said, some of the classic and vintage cars will struggle across the extra length, so we are offering a four day option for those who want it, giving them the Saturday off in Strahan so they can go and explore what the region has to offer.”

Targa Tasmania will remain as the final round of the CAMS Australian Targa Championship.  Hobart will host the penultimate round, Targa Wrest Point, on the last weekend of January. 
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