Posted : 25/01/2012
New compound tyres and a new navigator have readied the Hankook TMR Evolution X of Dean Evans for the first major Tarmac rally of 2012, Targa Wrest Point, scheduled to start this weekend in Hobart, Tasmania.
Joining the Hankook TMR team for the second round of the 2012 Australian Targa Championship is 21-year old navigator Zoey Gillis, who has more experience in rallying than her years initially suggest.
Having competed in the Australian Rally Championship for a number of years, Zoey was part of the youngest team to ever contest Targa Tasmania, making her debut in 2008, and more recently competing in Targa High Country with her dad in an HDT VE Commodore.
Having navigated since she was 15 and raced motorbikes and go-karts from age three, Zoey was also 2008 NSW state rally champion in a Mitsubishi Evo 8 and arrives in the Hankook Evo navigator’s seat for Targa Wrest Point with skills and experience vital for winning speed.
Additionally, with a new shipment of medium compound Hankook Ventus TD Z221 tyres in Australia, the clear target is victory in the TMR 4WD Showroom category, following November’s Targa High Country, where a 52-second lead after day one was eroded down to a last stage, one-second defeat due to extremely hot weather.
It was predominantly the high 30-degree temperatures that hampered the effort of the Evo X MR, which had been running on Hankook’s ‘soft’ C70 Ventus tyres, a compound designed for shorter sprint events or cooler temperatures.
"The freakish hot weather really hobbled us,” explained Evans. “We knew it was summer but this was supposed to be the Alpine region! And the medium compound tyres were still a few months away so soft tyres were our only choice. Not this time!
“Our own experience combined with the feedback from other competitors has allowed Hankook to understand what the Aussie market demands and what a tyre for Targa needs, so we're going into Hobart’s Wrest Point event with medium compound tyres and renewed confidence. The soft compounds are great – we did the entire Targa Tasmania 2010 on them - but the mediums should suit the warmer conditions much better."
Targa Wrest Point 2012 also marks the final event for this specific Evo X, chassis number 00037, one of the oldest Evo Xs in existence, following its life as a Japanese and then Australian press car. Having successfully tuned the SST gearbox for competition, TMR will retire this car and Evans/Gillis will move to a lighter Evo X RS for future events.
There is one clear short term goal for Evans: "We had a great run at Targa High Country and with the new additions, our focus is squarely on winning the 4WD Showroom class at Targa Wrest Point for Hankook, TMR, Mitsubishi and all our supporters of Tarmac magazine.