Targa Tasmania teams raring to rally after hot laps at Symmons Plains

Angus Kennard and Ian Wheeler are not new to Targa Tasmania – together they have a combined 30 years rallying experience.

It will be the sixth time the rally duo have competed together when they take to the tarmac on Monday for the first day of rallying.

They warmed up their car at Symmons Plains Raceway as part of the Targa hot laps on Sunday.

Kennard said communication was key for the rallying pair.

“If Ian makes a bad call, we hit the bush and if I make a bad call, we hit the bush,” Kennard, who is the driver, said.

That meant the driver and navigator team needed to have mutual trust, he said.

As part of Targa Tasmania, the pair and other competitors will travel around the state between April 16 and 21, driving more than 2000 kilometres.

Kennard said long days in the car never daunted him if he was driving with Wheeler as he had three important qualities – “He’s good with numbers, light and laughs at my jokes.”

Wheeler, who has entered 17 Targa Tasmania events, started out on gravel.

However, the “more exciting” tarmac rallying drew him in, he said.

The pair were lucky to have a strong support crew, who serviced the car throughout Targa Tasmania.

“I’m looking forward to a week of rallying.”

Targa Tasmania event director Mark Perry said the car teams were prepared for rain, snow or shine.

“I think it’s all just a great advertisement for Tasmania and the diversity of this island,” Perry said.

He started out as a Targa navigator for 10 years before shifting into organising the event for the past decade

“I do miss being in the car, but … I’ve always been quite humbled to have the opportunity to run the event,” he said.

It’s the largest tarmac rally in the world

“[Targa Tasmania] probably has a stronger future now than five years ago.”

That was partly because the event also tours around the state in cars without roll cages.

Half of the 285 cars in the field were touring around at the 2018 event, he said.

The hot laps event gave the community a chance to get up close with the Targa cars.

Cars reached up to 260 kilometres an hour at the raceway.

 “They’re about the same speed as a V8 Supercar around here,” Perry said.