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Targa team numbers capped at 215 in Cairns

Competitor numbers have been limited to 215 in the inaugural Targa Great Barrier Reef tarmac rally in three months.

The cut-off comes as the organisers announce the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino will become party central during the three-day event on August 31-September 2.

Event director Mark Perry said there was now a waiting list of 20-30 as it was expected some teams would drop out.

“We are pleasantly surprised. We were aiming for 150.”

He said many of the competitors who took part in the just completed Targa Tasmania were “excited” about coming and driving in Cairns.

There are teams from every state and territory, including Western Australia.

Mr Perry said high-profile competitor Jim Richards had retired from Targa but would be representing Porsche in Cairns.

Targa Tasmania winners Jason and John White in their Dodge Viper are confirmed, as well as top competitors Paul Stokell and Erin Kelly in a Lotus Exige S.

Mr Perry said more than 400 people had applied to be volunteers and officials with only about another 30 needed.

He suggested people tune into the Targa Tasmania TV show on Channel 9 on Sunday to get a taste of the event.

Mr Perry said a three-year deal had been signed with the hotel-casino as the entertainment venue to host the welcome and after parties and the official start.

“It is vitally important for the event’s long-term success that we have large local businesses directly engaged and involved in Targa,” he said.

“With the event positioned to attract high earning visitors to Cairns, it was always going to have great synergies with Pullman Reef Hotel Casino in being able to provide these visitors with the high quality stay that they will be looking for.”

Casino chief executive Allan Tan said: “We are delighted to partner with Targa Great Barrier Reef and put our support behind such an exciting new event. Hosting events of this calibre in our region value adds greatly to our tourism industry.”


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