HOBART, Australia –
A 59-year-old driver was killed in a crash at the Targa Tasmania rally on Wednesday, a year after three competitors died in the annual race.
The man from Brisbane and his wife were in a 1989 Porsche 944 S2 when it crashed over an embankment on a closed section of the event in the north of Tasmania state.
Tasmania police said the man died at the scene and the woman was taken to a hospital for observation but was not injured. Investigations were continuing. Police did not release the man’s name.
Three competitors died within 24 hours in last year’s race. Organizers have adopted the bulk of the Motorsport Australia investigative tribunal’s 23 recommendations to make the tarmac rallies safer, including reduced speeds and altering some stages on the course.
More than 500 cars are competing in the six-day rally from Launceston to Hobart, which is scheduled to finish Sunday.
Targa Australia chief executive Mark Perry said the “thoughts of our the entire Targa community are with our fellow competitor’s family and his loved ones at this extremely difficult time.”
“We lose a close member of the Targa family, a long-term, regular competitor of ours,” Perry added. “It’s hard to put words to it for us right now, after last year and all the work we’ve done.”
Emergency services worked late into the night to remove the man’s body from the wreckage.
“I’m told the road was wet but it wasn’t raining at the time,” Tasmania Police Inspector Darren Hopkins said. ”(We have) no idea at this stage (about the cause). It could even be a medical condition.”