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Natalie Gardiner set to fly female flag at Targa Great Barrier Reef

Newcastle’s Natalie Gardiner is unperturbed about being the only female driver in the competition section of Australia’s newest tarmac rally, Targa Great Barrier Reef.

Natalie Gardiner ready to tackle TGBR

Gardiner and her co-driver Peter Graham will campaign a 2001 Mitsubishi Evo VII in the Early Modern category of the event based in Cairns starting from tomorrow.

After competing previously at Targa Tasmania, Targa High Country (twice) and Targa Wrest Point, Gardiner is looking forward to the challenge of the roads around the Atherton Tableland in Tropical North Queensland.

“It doesn’t worry me being the only female,” Gardiner said.

“Everyone is treated equal.

“Obviously it’s not really a female dominated sport but that doesn’t bother me.”

Gardiner arrives with a diverse background in motorsport which includes motorkanas, hillclimbs and circuit racing in machinery from MGBs to historic clubmans.

“I’ve done quite a bit but tarmac rallies are my focus and my passion,” Gardiner said.

“I’m really looking forward to the event. Looking through the entry list there are a lot of competitors I haven’t seen before.

“It’s great that a fresh event has been able to attract new competitors and it will be interesting to see how they go.”

Unlike some crews, Gardiner says she was unable to travel to Cairns for a preliminary run through the stages in recent weeks, however she does not see that as a problem.

“It’s a fair way for us to go up there for a weekend and do some planning so we will go in blind a bit,” Gardiner said.

“The plan is to fly into Cairns a few days before Targa GBR starts on the Tuesday.

“Some of the stages are repeated so it shouldn’t be too bad in terms of working out our notes the week of the event.

“We did two days of Targa Tasmania in one day so we are used to a full-on recce.”

The official start is from the Cairns Reef Hotel Casino on August 31

before the field makes its way to the first of 18 stages at Green Hill.

Locals will also be able to get up close to the cars at Targafest, to be

held on The Esplanade in Cairns on Saturday September 1 from 4pm to

9pm.

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