Tragic twist in Targa rally crash death — as it’s revealed the driver’s wife was in the car when her husband died
- A Brisbane man, 59, died when competing in the Targa Tasmania car race
- His wife, and front seat passenger, survived with non-life-threatening injuries
- Police said the car crashed down a 20 metre embankment before hitting a tree
- It comes after a horrific triple fatality in the same race in the Apple Isle last year
- Officials downgraded the rally to a non-competitive event following the deaths
The woman who was a passenger in the fatal Targa Tasmania rally crash has been identified as the wife of the driver who died.
Tasmania Police said the pair were on Mt Roland, the final stage of the day, when their car left the road, crashed down a 20 metre steep embankment and hit into a tree on Wednesday afternoon.
The 59-year-old woman was in the car alongside her husband and was later taken to Launceston General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Police said the pair were on the last leg of the Targa Tasmania race (pictured) when their car left the road, crashed down a 20 metre steep embankment and hit into a tree on Mt Roland in the state’s northwest on Wednesday afternoon
The Brisbane man’s death is the fourth fatality in the last two years at the Targa road race, after last year’s triple fatality in the same event.
Officials have downgraded the Targa Tasmania rally to a non-competitive event after the latest death.
The man’s wife requested that her husband’s name not be released.
Targa Australia chief executive Mark Perry said the decision to put a line through the competitive part of the event was a difficult one, but necessary so the crash could be fully investigated.
‘While cars will continue to drive on closed roads, drivers will now be limited to the signposted speed limits for the remainder of the event,’ Mr Perry said in a statement.
The wife of the man who died in the Targa Tasmania rally cash was in the front passenger seat when her husband, the driver, died (stock image)
‘Those who have entered into the competitive stages will be given the opportunity to join the tour.’
Mr Perry described the man’s death, during the 30th running of the rally, as ‘shattering’.
‘We lose a close member of the Targa family, a long-term, regular competitor of ours,’ he said on Wednesday night.
‘It’s hard to put words to it for us right now, after last year and all the work we’ve done.’
Mr Perry said the pair were in the final stage of the event’s second day and were one of the last few cars on course.
‘It’s a long-term stage for us, not new, it’s not unfamiliar to any of the competitors, particularly this crew, they’ve done many events with us before,’ he said.
Tasmania Police crash investigators will return to the scene on Thursday to obtain more information.
Emergency services worked into Wednesday 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.’
Shane Navin, Leigh Mundy and Dennis Neagle lost their lives in crashes during last year’s Targa Tasmania, prompting an investigatory tribunal to be established.
It made 23 recommendations for future tarmac rallies, including speed limits, altering stages year-by-year to avoid complacency and a tiered licensing system.
Seventeen of those have been adopted by rally organisers, with six the responsibility of Motorsport Australia to implement
Tasmania Police inspector Darren Hopkins (left) and Targa chief executive Mark Perry (right) announced the death of the 59-year-old competitor on Wednesday