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Team Australia recruit rents a ride for Targa Newfoundland rally

ST. JOHN's -- Ralph and Diane Grant have traveled half way around the world to drive the fabulous roads of central and eastern Newfoundland in the inaugural Targa Newfoundland rally - in a rented car.

Ralph, a three time Targa plate winner in Australia's showcase Targa Tasmania car rally, will compete as part of Team Australia in the 2002 Targa Newfoundland international rally, Sept. 13-21. Grant joins previously announced members of the Australian team John Lawson, Len Cattlin, Kerith Buckingham and Peter Buckingham.

But Grant's entry in the grueling 2,000-kilometre test will be no run-of-the-mill rental car. Grant will be driving a rented 1982 Toyota Celica rally car in the Modern category, itself a piece of Canadian motorsport history. Originally built and campaigned for the Toyota factory by Canadian rally legend and five-time Canadian rally champion Taisto Heinonen, the car has been semi-retired for a number of years. The Toyota, which carried Heinonen to his last national title in 1982, is being prepared for Targa Newfoundland by Frank Sprongl and Dan Sprongl of Four Star Motorsports. The Sprongls are themselves multi-time Canadian rally champions. Grant's co-driver is his wife, Diane Grant.

"I wanted to bring my 142GT Volvo, my 'Mighty Volvo' as I call it," says Grant. "I built it specifically for Targa Tasmania, but unfortunately I missed the shipping deadline."

Undeterred about the missed shipping deadline, the pair made some inquiries and found a car to lease in Toronto.

"With our only daughter living here in Canada," says Diane, "we hope to make this event our first priority each year. Hopefully, next year we will be competing in Targa Newfoundland in the 142."

The Grants are hoping that local Newfoundland businesses will offer some sponsorship support for their globe-circling adventure.

The latest additions to the Australian team give the first annual Targa Newfoundland another boost.

"We were quite honoured that competitors from half way around the world were attracted to this event," says Targa Newfoundland organizer Robert Giannou. "Competitors of this stature trying our event, that is the biggest vote of confidence this rally could have."

The inaugural Targa Newfoundland is patterned after the highly successful Targa Tasmania in Australia and Targa New Zealand rally events, and is expected to attract up to 100 cars for the September 13-21 event. Targa Newfoundland will start and finish in St. John's and the route will cover portions of the Avalon, Burin, Bonavista and Exploits regions, including more than 500 kilometres of Targa stages on closed roads. The event is staged with the co-operation of Octagon Motorsports (which administers Targa Tasmania) and is sanctioned by the Canadian Association of Rallysport (CARS).


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Information:

Media: Competitors:
Ruth Marks Robert Giannou
(709)753-1096 (709)722-2413
[email protected] [email protected]
 
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