Tasmania, already the home of Australia’s leading tarmac rally, Targa Tasmania, will host another major motorsport event, Targa Wrest Point, in 2009.

The new event has been designed by Octagon Australia to provide competitors with a perfect lead-up to Targa Tasmania and to take advantage of some of the iconic Targa  stages south of Hobart that are not currently used in the seven-day classic.

Targa Wrest Point will consist of 13 stages across the weekend of Saturday, January 31 and Sunday, February 1, with Targa Tasmania scheduled to commence on April 29.

Event director, Mark Perry, believes the two-day format on roads recognised as some of the best in the world will have plenty of appeal.

“We have toyed with the idea of a lead-in event to Targa Tasmania for a number of years now, and after some recent developments we felt that 2009 provided the perfect opportunity to get it going,” Perry said

“We’ve seen a recent upgrade to the roads in the Huon area south of Hobart, which were required to make the event sustainable, and naturally the signing of a major partner in Wrest Point has helped to make the event possible.

“The event will bring a large number of people to the state just outside the end of the mainland school holiday period, and this is good news for business in this state as well.

“The introduction of Targa Wrest Point will see an additional $3 million come into the Tasmanian economy, on top of the $12 million generated by Targa Tasmania,” Perry said.

Wrest Point General Manager, Mike Davey, says his company is right behind the new event.

“We have been excited by this project from the moment it was presented to us,” Davey said. “It gives us a great opportunity to promote our iconic hotel nationally and provide the perfect home for Targa Wrest Point.

“We are already looking forward to watching the cars in action early next year.”

Targa Wrest Point is expected to attract a top field who will use the event as their major preparation for Targa Tasmania, looking to establish an early advantage over their rivals.

“We’ve expecting all the usual big names, including eight-time Targa Tasmania champions, Jim Richards and Barry Oliver, at the start line on the last Saturday in January,” Perry said.

“Also, like the Rookie Rallye, this event will entice a younger competitor who will use the shortened course as a stepping stone towards a potential start in Targa Tasmania, the `jewel in the crown’ of tarmac rallying.

“Creating these opportunities is important in ensuring the long term viability of Targa Tasmania. I’m sure over the years to come we’ll see a steady flow of new competitors out of these shorter events into the classic Targa.”

The course planning for Targa Wrest Point is in the final stages of completion and is due for release in the coming weeks.
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