Mazda's Bittersweet Targa Day Three
NOTTING HILL, AUSTRALIA – May 3, 2010: It was a bittersweet day for team Mazda Motorsport on leg three of Targa Tasmania with the RX-8 SP of Steve Glenney forced out of the event after colliding with a competitor who had unexpectedly stopped on the fifth stage of the day, Mt Roland.
The Nissan GT-R of Tasmanian David Ayers had stopped to offer assistance to fellow local Simon Froude whose Porsche had left the road due to an oil spill. The RX-8 SP of Glenney was travelling at a race-leading pace when faced with the stopped GT-R.
Lightning reactions and expert driving from Glenney meant that despite the heavy impact all involved walked away unharmed.
It’s an unfortunate end to the RX-8 SP’s 2010 Targa Tasmania campaign, particularly given that it was sitting in third position entering the Mt Roland stage and was widely expected to further challenge the Modern leaders over the remaining two competition days.
“For our campaign to end this way is really disappointing, as Bernie and I were really on the pace this morning – giving us high hopes for the remaining two days,” said a disappointed Glenney. “We’re really fortunate that no one was injured which should be attributed to the amazing pre-race preparation and safety package on the RX-8.”
“But that’s motorsport, and we have to remember that we still have the Mazda3 MPS challenging for Targa honours in the Showroom category.”
Brendan Reeves in the Mazda3 MPS really went up a gear on the eight challenging stages making up day three, clocking top three stage times throughout the day. Impressively, Reeves and his co-driver Rhianon Smyth won the Paloona stage and clocked the ninth fastest time overall.
The brother-sister combo has maintained a solid third position in the Showroom category at the end of day three to sit twelfth outright on the overall results tally.
With their Yokohama tyres wearing well, the Mazda3 MPS is placed in good stead for tomorrow’s further eight competition stages, which are considered to be amongst the toughest in the event. Plus with event regulations allowing the pair a change of two tyres this evening, the Mazda3 MPS holds an obvious advantage over their four-wheel-drive rivals who are not permitted a tyre change until the close of tomorrow’s leg.
“We’re very pleased with the pace of the Mazda3 MPS today and to have won the Paloona stage really shows just what we’re capable of,” said Reeves.
“Tomorrow is going to be a very challenging day but our tyres are faring well. Plus now we have two news ones and better yet we’ve got a car that’s running like a dream, so we’re looking forward to pushing on.”
Mazda Motorsport boss Allan Horsley was philosophical after today’s events. “It was terribly unfortunate about the RX-8 SP today, particularly as it wasn’t Steve’s fault. Given the position we were in, we had high hopes of winning.
“We’ll all be back again tomorrow to see the Mazda3 MPS through the event. We’ve got the best young rally driver in Australia in that car and with our tyre advantage we are looking to make up some ground tomorrow.
“There’s no doubt that losing the RX-8 SP today was a huge blow to everyone involved but there’s a fantastic team spirit here and we’ll all keep working together until Hobart.”
Tomorrow’s penultimate leg sees the field leave Launceston for the final time and North West to Ulverstone for lunch via four challenging stages including the car-breaking 37.8km Cethana stage. After lunch the field traverses another four stages finishing in Strahan on the State’s West Coast tomorrow evening.