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Top New Zealand rally driver Marcus van Klink is the latest gravel specialist to sign up to contest this year's 20th annual Targa tarmac event in the South Island. And this time, he says, he hopes he will get to the finish line.

Though these days he is best known for his antics behind the wheel of a classic rear-wheel-drive Mazda RX7, the 39-year-old from Kaiapoi, north of Christchurch, started out circuit racing before buying a Mitsubishi Evo and twice starting a North Island Targa event, the first time in 2005 then again in 2006.
Both times he and then co-driver Greg Kennedy went well early on only to crash out late in the event.
"So I guess," he says, "I've got some unfinished business as far as these Targa events are concerned."
He and current co-driver Dave Neill will certainly be doing it in style, in a genuine ex-works Citroen S1600 'Junior WRC' car with support from sponsors Castrol, Buteline, Edward Gibbons Plumbing Supplies and AMT Mechanical.
"I quite like owning things that are a bit different," says van Klink of the late-model 164kw (220hp) front-wheel-drive hatchback built by Citroen's competition arm. "It's a proper works car which I bought from Portugal with Targa in mind."
Though there is still at least a month to go before official entries close, van Klink and Neill's entry is one of just on 100 now across the various competition classes and one of just over 180 when entries in the concurrent but non-competitive 'Targa Tour' are taken into consideration.
Included in that list are defending event title-holder Martin Dippie and co-driver Jona Grant from Dunedin, five-time winner Tony Quinn (yet to confirm his co-driver) and at least one driver - Aucklander Barry Kirk-Burnnand - who has completed all 19 previous Targa New Zealand events.

Caption: Rally ace Marcus Van Klink and co-driver Dave Neill in the ex-works Citroen S1600 they will use in the upcoming Targa South Island event. Photo credit: Geoff Ridder

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