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2003 Targa NZ  Volvo PV544
Club members Rob and Igor de Borst's PV544, New Zealand

PV544 Team at the Turner's Auction site, Penrose during scrutineering

Friday 31 October - Day 4:  Photos by Hans-Peter Rombouts in Dannevirke stages 35/36

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Wednesday 29 October - Day 2: Taupo - Palmerston North

Great day today, and we're still in one piece! With very changeable weather conditions today we had quite a challenge both reading the road and keeping the car on it.

The new Dunlops are working great though, and we're having fun finding just how far they do work! That said, we aren't overdoing it and a bit of caution on our part has served us well. Road surfaces have ranged from excellent to treacherous and judging from the number of offs today, we've driven wisely. 

This morning we drove the stage that claimed us last year. It was good to finish it proper this time! The only disaster was the "gumboot-throw" that awaited me at the Taihape lunch stop. Atrocious to say the least. This afternoon's stages were fantastic. 

Rob is really coming to grips with the car, which made the final stage, 4 laps of Manfield circuit, all the more exciting. We may not have made the fastest way around the track but it sure was fun!

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Photos: waiting for a stage near Kimbolton and frame-grab from in-car camera at Manfield

Tuesday 28 October 2003 - Day 1 Waikato - Taupo

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I Watched Rob and Igor today at stage 6 in the Waikato, it was very wet and they drove very sensible for the conditions. Unfortunately I didn't have a  better photo opportunity. Webmaster

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Monday 27 October 2003 -
Day 0 Prologue
Today was two stages as a kind of shakedown before the event proper. First up was a reconnaissance of the first stage, Papakura. This 8km stage was not to be taken lightly, starting narrow and climbing through bush. The road opens further on, but drops, brows and tightening corners can catch you out. Patches of loose gravel were also across some of the stage. Returning after the first look, Rob decided to take it easy, though once we began it was
hard not to really work the engine. It's working best above 4000 rpm, and really comes on just before 6000 so high revs was the order of the day. Pushing just that little harder meant that we caught the Cortina in front of us, which admittedly was quite a rush! 

The new rims seem to be working just fine, and after fitting a slightly larger steering wheel, we seem to have a much lighter steering car, requiring much less effort to muscle around. 

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Next up was Pukekohe race circuit. Definitely a highlight! Cars started at 30 sec intervals for four laps each of the track. The main straight was excluded with cars going through the pits as part of the course. Some tight turns through armco here! Lots of fun exercising the old beast on the track and even passing the odd car or two! Overall a good introduction to the week and it looks like we're second in class behind the big Healey! We don't stand a chance against it so this result is the best we could hope for. Looking forward to the next 5 days! 

Igor de Borst

Monday 27 October 2003

This morning we were due for documentation and scrutineering at the Turners supersite in Penrose. Since then we've become members of the Fiat club, but yes we still drive a Volvo! We had inadvertedly let our car club membership expire, and since you can't compete without one, we had to take swift measures.

As always there were the little last minute things to be taken care of, but all in all the car is looking good. It is now wearing brand new minilite wheels from the UK which really look the part. Alan, our service crew man, has just spent the last week tracking down inserts for the competition wheel nuts as 2 out of the 5 wheels arrived without them. Thanks Alan!

It's always interesting to compare a modest budget like ours to the big spenders of Targa. I don't want to sour the camraderie, but there are certainly social classes within the competition classes. We have one, albeit one very hard-working and dedicated, service person, whereas others can actually say they have a "crew", it must be a whole different dynamic. It is always interesting when a conversation starts, "what are you driving?" The eyes usually glaze over when you reply, "Volvo PV544" but I guess "the Volvo" is just as accurate, there being only one. That said, we've had some great responses to the car, with a lot of people glad to see us back this year.

The short drive we had this morning felt very promising and I can't wait till we finally get underway. It will be interesting to see how the field shapes up after the prologue. Right now we've got a Cortina in front of us and a Jag chasing us down, but till we find our rhythm again, we're going to take it easy. If we make it to Saturday without incident, I'll be a happy man! 1999 - 2015