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Hobart’s Matt Rickards will head to Victoria’s northeast early in November to contest the fifth running of Targa High Country.

The winner of February’s Targa Wrest Point, Rickards and co-driver, Michael Potter, have entered their 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9 and will be one of the favourites for victory in the hotly-contested Modern competition.

Matt Rickards (L) and Michael Potter celebrate their victory in February's Targa Wrest Point.Rickards had to withdraw from May’s Targa Tasmania because of an engine failure before the event, however, with the Mitsubishi’s motor now back to full health, he’s looking forward to getting back in the car.

“If the car’s reliable we’re confident of a good result,” Rickards explained.

“We were lying third last year until a clutch problem forced us out, so we have done well on these stages before, which is an advantage.

“The new stages on the Friday of the event will make the event more even for those without lots of experience at Targa High Country, and hopefully we can do well.

“We’ll arrive in Victoria next Monday, write our pacenotes for the event and hopefully put ourselves in with the best chance of claiming victory.”

While the weather in early November is expected to be fine and warm, Rickards is hoping that some rain arrives at some stage during the rally.

“We’re limited to six tyres for the event, and we’ve chosen medium compounds. If we have three days of dry weather they might struggle towards the end of the event, so some rain would be handy.

“But having said that, all the leading four-wheel drive cars will be in the same boat, and the big Nissans will be worse off than us, given their cars are a lot heavier.

“We’ll just take it as it comes and hope for the best.”

Rickards’ strongest opposition is expected to be fellow Tasmania, Eddie Maguire, also in a Mitsubishi Lancer, and the Nissan GT-R of South Australian Matt Sims.

Competitors in Targa High Country will be on the start line at Mt Buller on Friday, November 7, ready for three days of intense tarmac rally competition that will culminate on the mountain on Sunday, November 9.

The event, now in its fifth year, has been significantly revamped and extended for 2014, with full three days of competition included.

Targa High Country will take the action further than ever before, with a lunch stop at Euroa for the first time.

The traditional Friday night street stage in Mansfield has moved to Saturday afternoon, a more spectator friendly time giving those from the surrounding areas the perfect opportunity to see the cars in action, then stay around for the Targafest in the main street, that follows.

Eildon hosts the Sunday lunch spot, the final chance to catch all the cars before they head to Mt Buller and the finish line.

Mt Buller is home to two thrilling finish stages, on Friday and Sunday with the Mt Buller Village Square hosting the finish celebrations, including grandstand seating, live commentary, podium presentations, Targa competition vehicles on display and a VIP enclosure.

For spectator information and to download the official program, go to www.targa.com.au

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