Targa Tasmania officially started this afternoon with the first leg, the Temco Prologue, being held over a winding street circuit in a not quite bustling metropolis named Georgetown, in Northern Tasmania. The first cars were scheduled to drop the clutch at 12.00, but for team TU2, the day started much earlier.
Around 8 a.m. there was a problem with the engine overheating. It turns out that the electric water pump failed. The fault was traced and Matt and Drew discovered that the pump wasn’t getting any power. Wires were detached and reattached and a short time later, with power now routed through the headlights, the little red beast was on its way.
Dan and Roger were scheduled for a 12.45 takeoff on the prologue stage. The prologue is designed to ease competitors into the rally. It gives the cars a bit of a burst, which can help with tracing any problems at speed before the big stages start. It also decides the order in which competitors will start for the northern loop tomorrow.
I called Dan just after his run in the prologue and he seemed pleased, if a little reserved. Given the fuel problems just prior to coming to Tasmania and especially given the water pump issue from this morning, just getting through the prologue must have been a relief in itself.
There were others that weren’t so fortunate. That beautiful Ferrari I photographed on Sunday, the 308GTB, got a big disappointing DNF due to an engine fire. Expensive with a capital E. Not only is their $5,700 for entry now down the sink-hole (plus all the incindental costs of entry), but I’d imagine the repairs to a Ferrari can’t be that cheap. Hopefully they get it fixed up soon. Other non-finishers in the Classic category included a Mini Cooper and the gorgeous Jensen CV-8.
Dan and Roger finished the 4.7 km street course in 4:15.70, ranking 14th in class. The class winner for the day was a 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera, which finished in 3:29.68. Second was a Datsun 280Z with another Porsche 911 in third.
Tomorrow the real racing begins with the Northern Loop. There’ll be 8 Targa stages – 3 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. Hopefully some pics will be coming through by tomorrow night and I’ll post them here as soon as they do.