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CLASSIC GT SET FOR TARGA BATTLE

Targa Tasmania starts next Monday and the Classic GT Class looks wide open.

A variety of GT and high performance cars built before the end of 1985 will take on the challenging 35-stage, 500km Tasmanian roads, ranging from the finesse of the German Porsches and to the brute of Australian made Holden muscle cars from the 70’s and 80’s.

However, the battle for line honours is set to be between Datsun and Triumph, with reigning Classic GT winners Jon and Gina Siddins in their 1970 Datsun 240z taking on the Triumph TR7 V8 of Craig Haysman and Julie Boorman.

The horsepower of the Triumph and nimble handling of the Datsun will provide an intriguing battle, as Siddins hopes the wet weather that normally is a feature of the event plays into his hands.

It’s going to be another great Targa, which I’m really looking forward to,” Siddins said.

“Targa Tasmania is definitely not a sprint race – it’s our Bathurst and you obviously need to be there on the final day to have any chance of winning.

“We’re down on power to Craig’s TR7, but if it’s wet (which it often is at Targa) then that evens things up a lot.

“Our car is really well balanced and is easy on tyre wear, so we’re confident of another good showing,”

Despite the expected Triumph vs Datsun battle, there is every chance that the Holden Toranas of Michael Bray and Michael Downey could through a spanner in the works, so too the Mazda RX-7 of Barry Faux. Both driver and car are well suited to the Tasmanian conditions Siddins explains.

“If it’s wet, then Barry Faux will be hard to beat,” admits Siddins. “He’s shown in previous years that he loves the wet and his car handles those conditions really well.”

The wife of multiple Australian Rally champion Ross Dunkerton, Lisa, will co-drive for Mark Hammond in a Jaguar XJS, adding to the variety of the class will be a trio of Porsche 911s and a pair of Holden Commodores that are sure to be crowd pleasers.

Targa Tasmania will start at Burnie on Monday April 24 in Launceston, taking in four days of competition over the north of the state before heading down the west side of the coast through the town of Strahan. Then the final few stages will be held around Hobart, with the finish taking place on Sunday April 29.

You can follow the progress of the Siddins team, under the name Team 24oz, via their Facebook page www.facebook.com.au/Team24oz.