Written by Carolyn Schonafinger
Monday, 30 January 2012 - Twenty-three year old Victorian rally driver, Brendan Reeves, has finished a superb third outright in this year's Targa Wrest Point tarmac rally in Tasmania. Reeves, with his co-driving sister Rhianon Smyth alongside, drove an excellent race in his first ever outing in the Mazda Motorsport RX8 SP.
The two-day rally consisted of seven stages on both Saturday and Sunday, covering over 200 kilometres of competitive driving. Reeves came to grips with the car early on Saturday and quickly set about stamping his mark on the rally. He consistently set top four stage times throughout the first day of competition, setting a fastest stage time and two second-fastest stages times in the process. He ended Leg 1 in third place.
Competition in the Modern Category, in which Reeves was competing, was hot. Tasmanian Jason White in a Lamborghini Gallardo and Matt Close in an Audi TT RS led the field at the end of day one but Reeves was determined just to drive his own race on Leg 2 with a top three finish on the agenda. With high temperatures forecast, the focus was on preserving the RX8's tyres and getting the car home in one piece. Reeves didn't put a foot wrong all day - he again consistently set top four stage times and by the end of Leg 2 had increased his overall margin to fourth placed Jim Richards, (Porsche GT2 RS), to over a minute.
A delighted Reeves was rapt with the weekend's result and happy to get his 2012 season off to a fine start.
"We've had a fantastic weekend," he said. "The car was great, Rhianon did a great job, as did all the Mazda team. I am really happy to reward their hard work with a podium place.
"The RX8 was a dream to drive," he added. "It ran perfectly all weekend and I really enjoyed driving it. I can't wait for Targa Tasmania in April!"
Reeves' Mazda Motorsport team-mates, Simon and Sue Evans, won the Showroom Category in their Mazda 3 MPS, topping off a great weekend for the team. The next outing for the Mazda Motorsport Team is Targa Tasmania, a six-day event to be held in April.
In the meantime, the focus for Reeves and Smyth will turn to raising sufficient funds to compete in the 2012 World Rally Championship Academy. With only two weeks until entries for the highly regarded Series have to be lodged, the race is on for the young Aussie team to secure enough sponsorship to again enter the Series. They competed in the WRC Academy in 2011, finishing fifth outright, in a fully-sponsored drive made possible by winning the 2010 Pirelli Star Driver competition. With Reeves' proven ability on both tarmac and gravel events, sponsors are sure to gain plenty of exposure from their association with the young driving star.
Results – Round 2 of Australian Targa Champion ship – Targa Wrest Point (Provisional)
1. Jason White / John White, 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo Stadale
2. Matt Close / Casey Close, 2010 Audi TT RS, +41s
3. Brendan Reeves / Rhianon Smyth, 2010 Mazda RX8 SP, +1m25s
4. Jim Richards / Barry Oliver, 2011 Porsche GT2 RS, +3m14s
5. Neill Ford / Neill Ford, 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, +6m39s
6. Michael Pritchard / Timothy Stevens, 2004 Porsche GT3 CS, +8m19s
SHANNONS CLASSIC OUTRIGHT
1. David Cooper / Jason Dann, 1977 Holden Torana A9X
2. John Ireland / Michael Ribot, 1977 Porsche 911 Carrera 3, +1m27s
3. Don Todd / Dean Tighe, 1971 Ford Capri Perana, +3m16s
4. Robert Devenish / Karien Heimsohn, 1971 Datsun 240Z, +3m41s
5. Paul Stuart / Lachie Stuart, 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera 3, +2m18s
1. Matthew Rickards / Damien Grimwood, 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII RS
2. Tony Warren / Natasha Deniese, 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII, +1m28s
3. Peter O'Keefe / Julie Winton-Monet, 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI TME, +3m04s
1. Simon Evans / Sue Evans, 2009 Mazda3 MPS
2. Adam Dodd / Lee Challoner-Miles, 2006 Mazda MX5, +6m05s
=3. James Hallett / Stuart Hallett, 2005 Holden HSV Clubsport DTS, +9m49s
=3. Hartley Sutcliffe / Peta Davies, 2006 Mazda MX5, +9m49s
TMR PERFORMANCE 4WD SHOWROOM
1. Eddie Maguire / Steve Glenney, 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo
2. Dean Evans / Zoey Gillis, 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, 58s
3. Scott Millar / Christopher Dean, 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, +3m40s
SHANNONS EARLY CLASSIC HANDICAP
1. Geoff Duggan / Leon Duggan, 1969 Datsun 2000 Sports
2. Rob Devenish / Karien Heimsohn, 1971 Datsun 240Z, +3m48s
3. Peter Killick / Roslyn Killick, 1965 Ford Cortina, +4m27s
SHANNONS LATE CLASSIC HANDICAP
1. John Ireland / Michael Ribot, 1977 Porsche 911 Carrera 3
2. Paul Stuart / Lachie Stuart, 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera 3, +27s
3. Robert Gambino / Paul Hibberd, 1976 Ferrari 308 GTB, +1m04s
EVENT PICTURE GALLERY