After almost 10 months of waiting, the Motorsport Australia Targa Championship has finally arrived with the Targa Great Barrier Reef taking place this weekend.
About 100 entries will make up the Queensland based event across 230 competitive kilometres, through 18 picturesque stages.
Starting from Green Hill on Friday morning, competitors will drive through many beautiful parts of the region over the three days before concluding in Barron on Sunday afternoon.
Passing through areas such as Lake Eacham, Lake Morris, Gillies Range and Mena Creek, the event will look a little different to previous years with a range of scenic new stages included in the schedule.
The event's Cavalcade stage will also act as a special social tour on Saturday, allowing Cairns locals to get a good look of all the participating cars right from their front yards. Known as the TARGAcavalcade, the stage will see will cruise down a set 27km course.
With a number of state border closures still in place as a result of COVID-19, the entry list is predominantly made up of Queensland based drivers, along with a few interstaters like Victorians Peter Gluskie and Samantha Winter who completed the required quarantining pre-event to make themselves available.
Although the likes of reigning Targa champions Paul Stokell and Kate Catford and 2019 Targa Great Barrier Reef winners Jason and John White will not be in attendance, there will still be some notable names in action this weekend.
RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) regulars Luke Anear and Andy Sarandis will be looking to defend their GT4 title in their new Mercedes AMG GTR, while Aaron Dunkerton, son of five-time ARC champion Ross Dunkerton, will be driving his father’s car.
With Ross having secured a class podium in the 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution VIII last year, Aaron is hopeful the car can help improve his results from previous years.
“I have been doing reconnaissance yesterday and today with my co-driver Matt Davidson and we’re really excited for the event and looking forward to tackling some of the new stages,” Aaron said.
“Dad has lent me his car and I am excited to drive it. I was in a Subaru WRX last year, which was built for gravel rally whereas the Mitsubishi was built for tarmac so the setup is a little better.
“We should hopefully be a little bit quicker this year, but I need to make sure I am not stupid or push too hard because at the end of the day, it’s not my car and I don’t want to get a scratch on it.
“I think this will be the first event in this car. I don’t have big expectations. The first couple of days will be coming to grips with it and learning how it handles
“With that said, anything is possible due to the absence of a number of top guys and because the field has opened up and anyone could win, it makes for some really good competition and this year's event will be very interesting.”
The Targa Great Barrier Reef takes place in far north Queensland on 4-6 September.
TARGA Great Barrier Reef are on the hunt for volunteers to assist in the running of the event between Friday and Sunday.
Becoming an official is the best way to see and be involved in the action up close and personal! You will literally have the best seat in the house as the cars drive straight past you!
Whether you’re available for one day or all three days, they would be delighted to hear from you.
Please call Susie on 0418 873 744.