Targa draws people in

By Cindy McQuade

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Seeded number one for this year's Targa Rotorua are Auckland Mitsubishi pair Jason Gill and Mark Robinson.
Seeded number one for this year's Targa Rotorua are Auckland Mitsubishi pair Jason Gill and Mark Robinson.

New Zealand's premier rally event is rumbling in to town with the Targa Rally basing itself from Rotorua for the weekend.

More than 500 people will come into the city for the rally and it will also be the opportunity for our own petrol heads to get a fix.

Tomorrow will see the rally head from Rydges Hotel race to Putaruru and Cambridge, returning to Rotorua at the end of the day.

Sunday will see the entire day based solely around Rotorua and a number of road closures will be in operation.

Roads affected in the morning will be in the Atiamuri and Waikete Valley area. In the afternoon, roads in the Hamurana and Paradise Valley will be affected.

Event manager Keith Williams said people could call (0800) 827 427 to get information on where and when to view the racing.

But he said the car park at Rydges Hotel was "as good a place as any", because it would get people close to the action as rally cars, drivers and the public will congregate there before and after racing.

"There will be a whole range of cars, not just rally cars, but classic cars and unusual cars like a Lamborghini that are taking part," he said.

Mr Williams said Targa was all about working with the local community to make the race a success and John Paul College, Waikete Valley School and Kaharoa School had jumped on board to supply race marshals.

In return Targa makes a monetary donation to each school for its support.

"We give them training on what we need and in return we try to put stuff back into the schools and the local community and get them on board. We know we are disrupting residents and we are very appreciative of their support," he said. "Safety is paramount and before each stage, at least eight safety cars pass the route to ensure everything is as it should be. And if we can open roads early, we most certainly try to do it."

He said Rotorua was a perfect place to hold the rally because it offered many accommodation options for drivers and their supporters.

"Many drivers see the Targa as their hobby and bring their families down for the weekend. So they might need a range of options. Also while dad is off racing, mum and the kids have a whole lot of activities like mountain biking and visiting hot pools during the day.

"We have drivers coming from all over including the South Island, Dubai, and Japan and the scenery is amazing here, and the race showcases this," he said.

Road Closures:

TOMORROW

7.45am: Ohakuri Rd at intersection with SH1, finishes at 13.45pm. Mangatete Rd at intersection with Waikite Valley Rd.

8.55am: Hossack Rd at intersection with Waikite Valley Rd, finishes at 12.55pm. Bryce Rd at intersection with SH30.

12.05pm: Hamurana Rd - not obstructing the Ramada Resort Rotorua Marama's driveway, finishes 18.05pm. Kaharoa Rd at intersection with Tauranga Direct Rd (SH36).

12.40pm: Starts on Paradise Valley Rd at intersection with SH5, finishes at 4.40pm. Paradise Valley Rd at intersection with Endean Rd.

SUNDAY

First car starts from Rydges Hotel at 8.15am.

With services at Ngakuru School (9.40am-9.55am) and Rydges Rotorua (12.10pm-1pm & 2.15pm-2.45pm).

- Rotorua Daily Post

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