After undoubtedly the toughest day’s racing so far at this year’s Targa Tasmania, the Mazda RX-8 SP of Brendan Reeves remains within touching distance of a podium spot while the Mazda3 MPS of Simon Evans has consolidated its position at the head of the showroom field.
Today’s second stage, Cethana, is one of the longest in this year’s event and the distance played into the hands of the front runners who were able to put some further daylight between themselves and those behind them.
Simon Evans was the quickest showroom driver through Cethana and managed to pilot his Mazda3 MPS across the finish line a massive 41 seconds ahead of the Renault Megane of Gavin James and extend his showroom lead in the process.
At the end of today’s stages, Evans now leads the showroom category by over three minutes and will be intent on holding his lead all the way to Hobart.
But with two tough days of rallying ahead Simon Evans isn’t taking anything for granted. “The Mazda3 MPS has been great so far and has done everything we’ve asked of it. It’s nice to have built a good solid lead in the showroom category but we’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves. There’s two more days to go so we’ll just keep pushing and won’t take our foot off the gas until we reach Hobart on Sunday,” he said.
Brendan Reeves had another consistent day with top five finishes throughout the morning but he came out with all guns blazing after the Devonport lunch stop.
Who knows what Mazda Motorsport boss Allan Horsley fed Reeves for lunch but it certainly did the trick as he drove the RX-8 SP to its limit to snare second on the Oldina stage, a result which helped him stay in fourth overall tonight.
As predicted, Matt Rickards has continued his steady climb back up the overall standings courtesy of some solid stage times today. Rickards will be looking to move his turbo rotary RX-8 SP even further up the leaderboard over the next couple of days.
The Mazda2, the smallest member of the Mazda Motorsport team, showed that size is no limitation with several strong stage finishes at the hands of driver Andrew Maclean and it continues to sit ahead of more powerful rivals.