Day Three of the 2011 Targa Tasmania rally provided more drama as two of Mazda Motorsport’s race cars pushed further up the overall standings while the other exited the event.
With only nine seconds separating the Mazda3 MPS of Brendan Reeves from the RX-8 SP of Jamie Vandenberg and both cars making further gains overall today, it’s clear that Mazda Motorsport will continue to challenge for Targa honours as the race heads south towards Strahan and then Hobart.
This is despite the RX-8 SP of Steve Glenney, one of the pre-race favourites, crashing out of the event today on the challenging Paloona stage.
After losing time yesterday due to an electrical issue, Glenney was intent on fighting back today and proved this morning that he shouldn’t be discounted with a second placing on the Dunorlan stage, just two seconds behind the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera of Jason White.
But it wasn’t to be for Glenney as a crash on the following stage ended his hopes. Both Glenney and co-driver Bernie Webb emerged from the crash unhurt and will now lend their extensive experience to assist the challenges of their Mazda team-mates Reeves and Vandenberg.
Reeves’ stranglehold on the Showroom category was underlined today as he won every stage to increase his advantage over his nearest Showroom challenger to more than five minutes.
Indeed, it’s a case of Mazda domination in the Showroom category with five of the first seven spots being filled by Mazdas.
Jamie Vandenberg claimed yesterday that today would be one of his favourite days at Targa and it showed as he climbed into the top ten in the Modern category after a succession of consistently quick drives.
Mazda Motorsport boss Allan Horsley shared his thoughts after another tough day at Targa. “It’s disappointing to see Steve and Bernie crash out but these things happen in rallying from time to time. What this means now is that all our efforts go into the two remaining cars and we’ll be doing all we can to get help both Brendan and Jamie step up their challenge as we move closer to the finish in Hobart.
Day four of Targa Tasmania sees the field head south west tomorrow as they contest a further eight stages ending up in Strahan.