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24 APRIL 2013

The Shannons tarmac rally team of Jim Richards and navigator Barry Oliver have finished fourth overall in Targa Tasmania in the Porsche GT2 RS which was a better result than the team expected going into the event.

The 22nd running of Targa Tasmania proved to be one of the toughest and most competitive in the events history particularly in the Modern Competition with 15 of the 34 cars entered in Modern failing to reach the finish.

Run over 40 closed road Targa stages covering 600 competitive kilometres it became obvious from the fall of the flag that the Lamborghini Gallardo Trofeo Stradale of Jason and John White were on a mission to score back to back victories and clinch their second Australian Targa Championship.

They didn’t have it all their own way as Steve Glenney and Bernie Webb took the battle up to them in the R35 Nissan GTR but at the end of five days of competition the Lamborghini team came home to win by just over a minute from the Nissan.

For the Shannons team the focus was first of all to finish the event and let the result take care of itself as it was unlikely the Porsche had the pace to run with the front runners which consisted of the Lamborghini ,an Audi TTRS and five very competitive Nissans.

At the end of the first day the team were in sixth place after a consistent clear run and it was already obvious that cracks were starting to appear in the opposition as they fought for position.

The second day got off to a treacherous start with the opening stage at Rossarden slick after overnight rain and made even worse with a liberal coating of oil on part of the course. Not much fun in a two wheel drive Porsche with 630 horsepower.

At the end of the day the Shannons car was still sixth overall but the gap to fifth placed Frank Purdy and Cameron Reeves R35 Nissan GTR was down to five seconds. Day three saw the Shannons car move up to fourth overall with the Audi forced out with turbo problems and the GTR finishing the day 20 seconds behind.

After getting off to a good start on day four the normally super reliable Porsche threw a hissy fit half way through the day and the turbo boost dropped from 1.5 bar to just 0.9 which caused the car to lose significant horsepower.

With no service crew backup or the appropriate equipment to trace the problem it was a case of press on and hope it didn’t get any worse.

Not surprisingly the Nissan went back in front by 16 seconds and a battle was looming over the final six stages from Strahan to Hobart on the final day.

Despite the boost problems the Porsche beat the Nissan by four seconds on the first stage over 33 kilometres but then the Nissan team responded by beating the Porsche by four seconds on the next 6 kilometre stage out of Queenstown so it was status quo. Unfortunately the pressure got to the Nissan team on the marathon 58 kilometre Mt Arrowsmith stage and they crashed out of the event leaving the Shannons team in a safe fourth place.

“Baz and I really enjoyed our 21st Targa Tasmania and all things considered we are very pleased with the result. Apart from the boost problem the car was fantastic and great to drive on these brilliant Tasmanian roads”. said the eight time Targa Tasmania winner.

Having scored a third a fourth and a fifth in the four round championship ,where only three scores could count ,Richards/Oliver finished third in the Championship which was a very pleasing result for the Shannons team.

The next tarmac rally for the team will be Targa West in WA in August.

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