Mazda Motorsport has today confirmed a three-pronged assault on next week’s Targa Tasmania rally, the final round of the Australian Targa Championship.
The team will field two RX-8 SPs and a Mazda3 MPS to attack the grueling tarmac event which covers 586 competitive kilometers over six action-packed days.
Australia’s best young rally duo, Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Smyth, will again be in control of Mazda’s turbo rotary RX-8 SP and hoping to follow on from their successful first outing in the car where they secured third place at January’s Targa Wrest Point rally.
Despite limited competitive time in the RX-8 SP, recent testing has strengthened the bond between car and crew and a podium place will be the goal for Reeves and Smyth.
Matt Rickards makes his competitive debut for Mazda Motorsport at Targa Tasmania after he impressed with a strong showing at Targa Wrest Point which saw him secure fourth spot outright ahead of eight-time Targa winner Jim Richards.
Returning for the fourth consecutive year with Mazda Motorsport, Bernie Webb brings his significant co-driving experience to the team and will be the perfect partner for Rickards as he attempts to pilot the RX-8 SP to victory.
Experienced husband and wife team and four-time Australian rally champions, Simon and Sue Evans, are also back for Targa Tasmania and with the showroom-spec Mazda3 MPS as their weapon they are hoping to add to outright showroom-class wins at Targa High Country and Targa Wrest Point that would see them secure the Australian Targa Championship in their first year with the team.
Mazda Motorsport boss Allan Horsley is confident in the team’s ability to mount a strong challenge.
“We’ve got a good mix of youth and experience with each of our drivers extremely capable behind the wheel. And with the long term forecast predicting that we’ll see some rain during Targa, this presents a great opportunity for the two-wheel Mazdas, which handle exceptionally well in the wet, to gain some time on our four-wheel-drive rivals.”