Paul Stokell wins Australian road racing championship

LOTUS: Paul Stokell will defend his title as 2018 Australian winner of the Targa championship, driving this Lotus Exige in Tasmania this month . Photo: Angryman Photography
LOTUS: Paul Stokell will defend his title as 2018 Australian winner of the Targa championship, driving this Lotus Exige in Tasmania this month . Photo: Angryman Photography

Racing driver Paul Stokell of Ormiston will contest his own title this month as he enters the first round of the Australian Targa championships.

The first round will be held in Tasmania on February 16 and 17.

Stokell won the title in 2018, his first in a tarmac rally. His other six Australian titles have all been won on circuit tracks.

The largest tarmac rally in the world, the Targa championships has four rounds, two in Tasmania, one in Victoria and another in Cairns. The championship involves touring on public roads interspersed with competitive driving. Last year, Stokell came first in the north west challenge, third in Targa Tasmania, second in Cairns and seventh in the high country, Victoria.

“It’s a different discipline and a hell of a challenge. I think it’s the biggest challenge I’ve faced in motor sport. It’s different to just going round and around a circuit,” he said.

Stokell said, for example, that there can be about 450 competitive kilometres in a circuit involving about 2000km.

“Points are cumulative,” he said.

This year, Stokell returns to the championship with some modifications to the 2014 Lotus Exige S which he drove in 2018. The car has been increased in horsepower by 100hp, bringing it to 450hp.

“I hope to bring home another title, but let’s see how we go,” he said.

Stokell drives this year with South Australian navigator Kate Catford.