Team Betta Warwick with driver Rob Balint and navigator Peter Lane at Targa Tasmania.
Team Betta Warwick with driver Rob Balint and navigator Peter Lane at Targa Tasmania. Contributed

Fourth in class for Warwick team in Targa Tasmania

RALLY DRIVING: Team Betta Warwick has finished fourth in Targa Tasmania in the early modern class.

The team of driver Rob Balint and navigator Peter Lane achieved the Trophy Time so will return from Tasmania with trophy plates from the toughest rally in the world. 

On the final day, the team had firsts and seconds in stages but constant overheating made life for the team and crew tough.

But they maintained fourth position in class and achieved the required time to cap off another successful Targa Tasmania.

One of the high points of this year's event for the team was that sons Chris Balint and Nic Lane were part of the crew.

TEAM REPORT DAY 5

THE day begin at Strahan with all the cars departing and heading east towards the overnight destination of Hobart.

The first stage of the day was the 34km long Strahan stage. This stage traditionally has been challenging to all crews as the roads are still wet from the overnight dew.

Well today was different, the roads were wet from the rain.

It was still extremely slippery and it was voted by the car crew that the stage would be a steady, steady approach type.

This must have been the agreement in most of the other cars as well as our time was 4th fastest in class.

At the end of the stage, Rob noticed that the temp of the motor was really hot.

Obviously the fixes that we done on Thursday night did not help and the car was still getting hot and losing water.

Peter was able to cool the water in the radiator at Queenstown, thanks to him jumping a fence and getting someone's garden hose.   

Onward we travelled to the Queenstown Stage.

Now Queenstown is famous for its road out with its 99 corners and all of them very tight.

The road is carved in the side of the gorge and it overlooks the entire town.

One mistake up there and you would be watching TV in some poor blokes house whilst still sitting in the car in his lounge room.  The Team Betta Warwick Evo handled the challenge and again we posted a top-five time.

The car was serviced by Michael, Gub and Nic after this stage and there was a lot of concern as to how hot the car was getting. It was decided that we would take a conservative approach to the rest of the stages for the day.

Mt Arrowsmith was next on the agenda and at 53km long it is very hard to nurse a car through. But we did and still managed a reasonable time. The car was then serviced by Troy, Peter B and Chris and the same topics was spoken about. How do we keep the car cool? 

The rest of the day was all about being watchful and mindful of what the temperature of the car was getting to.

The remaining stages of the day were completed, inside trophy time, but unfortunately not at full race pace and we did lose a little bit of time to the leading competitors.

We still sit in 4th and as all the stages on Saturday are reasonably short, we may be able to hang on.   

All the service crew travelled plenty of kilometres on Friday as the car needed water after every stage and I am sure they will all sleep pretty well Friday night. 

On Saturday, the entire field of Targa Tasmania cars do a loop out of Hobart to the south west and then back to Princess Wharf 1 beside Salamanca Square for the official finish.

TEAM REPORT DAY 6

THE entire 270 strong field left Hobart on Saturday morning for six competitive stages.

The team had lengthy conversations on Friday night on how to manage the problems associated with the Team Betta Warwick Evo.  The main problem was the fact that the car was constantly overheating and required water at the end of each stage to be able to continue. 

A plan was hatched and everyone in the team had a job to do. Off we set from Princess Wharf 1 at about 8.30am heading to the first stage of Tinderbox. Confidence was high and the time set was fast, 2nd fastest. 

The service crew serviced the car with plenty of water in the radiator. Palverta was next.

What a stage. The Team Betta Warwick car was on fire in setting the fastest time. Confidence was extremely high.

Car was serviced again, with plenty of water, and off we went to Stage 3 Palverta. We started this stage and the car felt great, until the 6.9km point of the 9.8 km stage.

The car developed a miss and loss of power which caused both Rob and Peter a little concern.

Finishing the stage and conversations between Rob and Peter was what the hell happened there. The Team Betta Evo was on its last legs and we feared it might not get us home. The car has never let us down in the past and we were confident that our trusty steed would get us home. 

Panicked phone calls were made by Peter to all the service crews and they were informed of the situation.

Plan B was implemented immediately which was to get the car home at all costs. From this point over the next three competitive stages, 45 litres of water was poured into the car and Peter was constantly watching the stopwatch on every stage to ensure that Trophy Time was achieved.

The euphoria within the race car was unexplainable when on the last stage we achieved Trophy Time.

These times are hard to achieve at the best of times let alone when the car won't rev past 4000 revs and even then it is missing and spluttering.   

All we had to do was get the car back to the official finish line that was about 12km from the end of the last stage.

The Team Betta Warwick Evo got there and we finished the event. We are officially positioned in 4th place of early modern class and we achieved Trophy Time.