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by George Skentzos

An unusual rivalry has manifested following the completion of Day One in the Targa Tasmania.

Very much a family affair, fueled by the bitter rivalry between the two manufacturers, competition between the Mazda3 MPS and TRD Aurion entries is heating up.

Mazda drivers Rick Bates and Alister McRae managed a one-two finish on Day One in the 2WD Showroom Competition, matching their previous result in the Prologue – despite Toyota incorrectly claiming victory in its TRD Aurion entry.

Targa Tasmania off to a flying start

Not only did Rick Bates outperform the near-standard TRD Aurion entry competing alongside in the 2WD Showroom category, but also twin-brother Neal Bates in his race-prepped TRD Aurion entry.

Overall the performance of the Mazda3 MPS in the hands of Bates has been phenomenal, finishing the day 24th overall – equal with the brand-new R35 Nissan GT-R of Targa regular Tony Alford.

Jim Richards remains as the man to beat in his 2008 Porsche 911 GT2, finishing first overall narrowly ahead of Steve Glenney and Tony Longhurst in their rally bred Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 and Subaru Impreza WRX STi Spec C respectively.

Day two of Targa is made up of 402km, including eight competitive stages over 72km. The field starts and finishes in Launceston and visits the east coast town of St Helens.






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