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Dutch threat: International entries heat up Targa Newfoundland rally

A Netherlands-based rally team with a global competition résumé that stretches from Europe to Africa and through India, South America and the Caribbean heads a stellar list of international competitors who will face-off against teams from across North America when some of the world?s most interesting cars line up for the start of the second annual Targa Newfoundland rally here September 13-21.

The Dutch team of driver Flip van Zutphen and co-driver Theo Badenberg, and their amazing Lancia HF Integrale Evo 3, are considered an entry to watch and a top contender in the Modern class for the six-day, 2000-kilometre international rally for historic, classic and modern sporting cars. They will lead an international contingent of competitors converging on Newfoundland from countries like Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda and the Bahamas.

Van Zutphen and Badenberg have amassed rally credentials from some of the most exotic places in the world. Both have been contenders in the Himalayan Rally of India, the Kilamanjaro Rally of Tanzania, the Rally of Jamaica, Rally Caminos del Inca of Peru, as well as rallies as far afield as Ecuador and Malaysia. Badenberg is a former Dutch rally champion and World Rally Championship (WRC) competitor. Their 300 hp Lancia was considered a state-of-the-art competitor in its era, and promises to be spectacular to watch.

In the Classic division, Australian Ralph Grant returns for 2003 and brings his ?mighty Volvo? 142. With Canadian co-driver Jodie Shay of Ottawa, Grant hopes to erase the painful memories of his 2002 Targa Newfoundland when he was dogged with mechanical problems. Both Richard Paterson (Austin Mini), with co-driver Reg Cook, and Michael Salter (Austin Healey 100), with co-driver Blair Harber, will be flying the flag of New Zealand. Paterson?s Mini has just arrived from the southern hemisphere and promises to be a factor in Classic.

The 1953 Studebaker Commander shared by Tom Hayes of Nassau, Bahamas, and American Andy Vann, will add both southern spice and a little nostalgia to the field. The Bermuda-based team of Terrance Reynolds and Mike Smith has entered a 2001 Ford Focus prepared for the World Cup rally.

Returning U.S. competitors Bill Arnold, with new co-driver Peter Guagenti, and Jerry Churchill and Jim Roxbury, will lead an American contingent that includes a strong field in both Modern and Classic categories. Arnold won the Modern class last year in a new BMW M Coupe, but steps back in time in 2003 to become a Classic competitor in his 1972 BMW Bavaria sedan. Churchill and Roxbury will leave behind their crowd-pleasing red Dodge Viper to take up arms in a high-tech Subaru Impreza WRX in Modern. A dark horse entry from newcomers Gary Church and Bob Miller in a 2001 Ruf Porsche 911 could be a surprise in the Modern class.

The Canadian side will answer with the factory Subaru Rally Team entry of John Paynter and brother/co-driver E. Clarke Paynter, eager to contest the Modern class in their Impreza WRX. They will be joined by a host of newcomers, including two cars from Sean Hyland Motorsports. Owner and driver Sean Hyland, with co-driver Chuck Cox, will pilot a bright yellow 2000 Ford Mustang in Hyland?s first return to rally competition since 1982.

The field in the Touring class promises to be every bit as interesting. The list of entries to date includes everything from a new Ford Thunderbird, Mini Cooper and Porsche Boxster, to a vintage Jaguar and Mercedes Benz. The Touring class, which competes on driving precision rather than speed, is open to sporting cars of all eras.

?We hear about new entries every day,? says rally organizer Robert Giannou, ?including three cars coming from two car manufacturers. The entry list keeps growing.?

The 2003 version of Targa Newfoundland will again be a six-day, 2,000-plus kilometre automobile adventure for the owners of great sporting cars from around the world. This year?s event will start and finish in St. John?s and runs September 13 through September 21.

Patterned after the successful Targa Tasmania (Australia) and Targa New Zealand events, Targa Newfoundland was created to provide the owners of these pedigree machines the opportunity to drive them the way they were intended to be driven, safely and in the spirit of goodwill and good competition.

Targa Newfoundland is owned and organized by Newfoundland International Motorsports and is sanctioned by the Canadian Association of Rallysport (CARS). Targa Newfoundland 2003 is listed on the FIA calendar.



Media: Doug Mepham (613)966-4969 or Ruth Marks (709)753-0794
Sponsors: Scott Giannou (709)576-7537
Competitors: Robert Giannou (709)722-2413
Website: www.targanewfoundland.com
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