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Reeves buoyed by Hyundai factory Targa debut

Accomplished gravel rally driver Brendan Reeves is excited about returning to Targa Tasmania to spearhead Hyundai’s maiden Australian factory motorsport effort.

As announced last month, Reeves will take the wheel of a production-based i30 N hatch with sister Rhianon Gelsomino calling the pace notes.

The 30-year-old Reeves last competed in the Apple Isle’s coveted tarmac event in 2012, driving a Mazda RX8 SP a year after he won the Showroom class and finished fourth outright in a Mazda 3 MPS at Targa Tasmania.

“It has been an event I’ve always wanted to get back to,” Reeves said.

“I’ve been working with Hyundai at a road car level so the motorsport program is really exciting.”

The Hyundai i30 N was built in Sydney with the program being headed by experienced rally manager Phil Rodgers.

“I’ve only driven the car once in testing recently in Sydney where the car was built.

“The plan is to do another short test before we arrive in Tasmania.

“I have already done the recce in the fastback i30 N which has the same driveline as the car I will compete in so we know what we are in for.”

Reeves claims some of the stages feel bumpier than he remembers while he says the technical stages south of Hobart on the final day provide a challenge.

“The roads are a little bit bumpier than I remember so we’re keeping that in mind in preparing the car,” Reeves said.

“I’ve yet to do Targa Tasmania with the southern Hobart stages so that is a bigger challenge again having those in the event.

“They are really tricky and it is a bit of a challenge to end the rally that way. It will keep everyone on their toes.

“It’s close to Hobart as well so it is convenient for fans to come out and see the action as well.

“We will be very much a production-based car with a roll cage and brake pads so we really don’t know what to expect.

“It will be relying very much on the durability and reliability of the car to pull through and use my experience and rallying skills as well as my sister as my co-driver to get bring home a really good result.

“We know the car handles really well. We will be using the standard suspension set-up where we can adjust it to suit wet or dry conditions.”

There remains no firm plan on extending the tarmac program for the i30 N beyond Targa Tasmania.

“If it all goes okay and there is a budget we will hopefully try and do more events but at this stage nothing is planned beyond this event.”

Hyundai’s Targa effort also includes four fastback i30 N cars for journalists as part of the event’s non-competitive touring class.

Fans can get up close to all the cars at the three official Targafests. In Launceston the cars will be on display at the Silverdome Expo on Sunday April 28 and Wednesday May 1, from 6pm to 9pm, and in Hobart, you can see the cars at MAC2 on Friday May 3 from 6pm to 9pm.

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