Targa tyro straps in

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Entering Targa New Zealand’s first South Island rally was a no-brainer for Queens-towner Brendan Quill – never mind he’s never raced a car.

The real estate agent’s Porsche GT3 Cup is one of 120 entries in this week’s six-day competition Targa from Christchurch to Queenstown.

Another 70 cars have entered the concurrent non-competitive road rally.

Quill says this 20th Targa NZ was on his bucket list.

“To be able to drive on some of the most beautiful roads in the country, if not southern hemisphere, what an opportunity – how often would you get to go and scorch up the Glenorchy Road at 200kmh, on the wrong side of the road?”

Quill says he won’t be reckless, however.

“I will always be thinking about my wee daughter and my fiancee – I don’t want to go out there and wreck the car and have the services all over me.

“I’d rather just go there and finish the race and say I’ve achieved what’s classified as an international motorsport event.”

The 45-year-old says he’s strengthened the roll cage in his newly-bought car for himself and his co-driver, Southland farmer Andrew Bowmar.

“I figure if you did come off the road, at least you’ve got a better chance than not.”

Despite his lack of racing car experience, Quill says he’ll still have his competitive juices flowing, as he did during his professional cycling career.

“As soon as I see the three, two, one thing, I’ll have sweaty armpits and sweat behind my kneecaps.”

He advises spectators to stand on the top side of roads like the Crown Range.

“If I’m coming towards you, give us a good wave – you’ll definitely see the Accident and Health car, you’ll hear it, you’ll probably see my big red cheeks and my little tight helmet just absolutely perspiring from my forehead.”

Quill adds that the event will not only bring a lot of guest nights to Queenstown but also be fabulous promotion for the area due to TV coverage in Australia, Britain and the United States.

A race favourite will be five-time Targa NZ winner and part-time Queenstowner Tony Quinn.

The Australian-based pet food tycoon – who’s racing his new Lamborghini Huracan supercar – developed Cromwell’s Highlands Motorsport Park which competitors will visit on Saturday. 

Also racing are Arrowtowner Richard Mehrtens in his Mercedes Benz Black series car and Queenstowner Grant Aitken in his Toyota TR86.

In the non-competitive division, Queenstowner Mal Price will drive his GTR Nissan with fellow local Rolf Liechti co-driving.

scoop@scene.co.nz