The country’s top tarmac rally drivers will descend on Mt Buller for the first round of the inaugural Australian Targa Championship in November 5 to 7, with a capacity field set to tackle the inaugural Targa High Country event.

Organised by Octagon Australia, the company behind the legendary Targa Tasmania tarmac rally, Targa High Country will be based on Mt Buller, and will include a spectator stage around the streets of nearby Mansfield on the Friday, with the traditional stage action to follow across the weekend.

A full field of 225 cars have entered with the event to provide a significant economic boost to the region.

Several Targa Tasmania winners have taken up the challenge that the new event poses, including motor racing legend and eight-time Targa champion, Jim Richards, driving a Porsche.

Fellow Targa Tasmania winners Steve Glenney (Mazda RX8), Tony Quinn (Nissan GTR) and Greg Garwood (Porsche) will also tackle some of the best tarmac rallying roads the country has to offer.

2010 Targa Tasmania champion, Jason White, is also expected to enter the event in his flame-spitting Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, while the popular Classic section will be headed by pre-event favourite Rex Broadbent in a Porsche 911.

“Targa High Country has become a reality because of the passion and hard work of the Mansfield Shire Council, Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Alpine Resort Management Board, the Rural City of Wangaratta, the Murrindindi Shire Council and the Victorian Police,” Octagon’s Mark Perry says.

“It has long been thought that a multi-stage tarmac rally was not possible in Victoria, however thanks to the tremendous support we have received, it has become a reality. “

As well as the street stage, Mansfield will host a display of the competition cars in the town’s main street.

The event consists of eight competitive stages each day heading north to Wangaratta via Whitfield on the Saturday and to Eildon via Jamieson on Sunday. Each will end with a 20 kilometre stage to the summit of Mt Buller.

The total event distance is 849 kilometres, with 200 competitive kilometres across 17 stages.

Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Alpine Resort Management Board CEO, John Huber, is proud to support the event and to welcome Targa High Country to the area.

"Securing the Targa High Country event is a significant achievement for the Mansfield-Mt Buller region. This event will help drive summer visitation throughout the area and provide a boost to businesses through local and international tourism", Huber said.

"We look forward to the event becoming a major tourist attraction for the High Country and providing excellent opportunities to showcase all that the Mansfield-Mt Buller region has to offer."

The Australian Targa Championship comprises of three events, beginning with Targa High Country. The Hobart-based Targa Wrest point follows at the end of January, before the week-long Targa Tasmania concludes the championship in April.

Further information on Targa High Country can be found at the event website:
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