July 27, 2004

Targa Newfoundland attracts more vehicle manufacturers

St. John’s, Newfoundland – As many as eight of the world’s top automobile manufacturers could converge on the 2004 Targa Newfoundland international rally this September, reports the event’s organizers.

In addition to private entries that have already surpassed last year’s numbers, entries have been confirmed from six carmakers with another two companies poised to declare their intent to be at the rally’s start on Sept. 11, 2004.

Returning for the third year are Porsche Cars of North America and Kia Canada Inc. Kia returns with two cars for 2004 after their class win in 2003. An early supporter of the event, Kia will enter a new Spectra hatchback as well as the proven Rio RX-V that did yeoman duty for the two previous years. Both cars are in the Targa competition. The Porsche entry will see the return of Americans Pete Stout and Jack Baker. The journalist-competitors will move up to the Targa competition from the Touring category in 2003, where they were a major force in the rally.

Returning for a second year is BMW Group Canada, under the Mini banner. A pair of factory-supported Mini Coopers will make the field – one each in Targa and Touring. BMW is the Honoured Marque for the event for 2004.

New to the Targa event are Mazda Canada Inc., Suzuki Canada Inc. and the Infiniti Division of Nissan Canada Inc.

Mazda is mounting a two-car effort with the automobile magazine World of Wheels. A sporty new Mazda RX-8 will join the Targa field and a new Mazda6 will contest the Touring event. Suzuki has declared that four cars will be in the field of the 2004 event, but no details have been released. Infiniti will get behind defending Touring champions Jean-Francois Drolet and Rejean Beaulieu in their new Infiniti G35 Coupe.

Two other manufacturers have also indicated an interest in sending teams to the 2004 event; one would be a return engagement for the company. At least one additional entry is supported by a well-known car company’s dealership.

“I think Targa has captured the imagination of Canada’s auto industry,” says rally organizer Robert Giannou, “and for good reason.”

“The array of categories and classes means that there’s a place in Targa for nearly every kind of vehicle made,” says Giannou. “With two very different kinds of competition in the Targa and Touring divisions, there are all kinds of ways to showcase sporting cars of all shapes and sizes. It’s more than speed: It’s about durability, versatility and coping with life in the real world.”

The third annual Targa Newfoundland covers 2,100 kilometres of the challenging, twisty roads of the central and eastern portion of the province over six days, including more than 500 kilometres of closed-road, flat-out Targa Stages. Competitors have come from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Holland, the Bahamas and the U.K. for the first two editions of Targa Newfoundland. The rally starts with registration and technical inspection on Saturday, September 11 and finishes back in St. John’s a week later.

Targa Newfoundland is owned and organized by Newfoundland International Motorsports and is sanctioned by the Canadian Association of Rallysport (CARS).

Connect with Autos.ca