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Action galore on the road to Burnie

Devonport’s Jason White leads the GT2 category of 25th running of Targa Tasmania after an enthralling day of competition, which saw the lead swap on more than one occasion.
Jason White has grabbed the lead in GT2
Driving a Dodge Viper ACR Extreme, White and his co-driver uncle, John, finished the day just six seconds clear of Matt Close and Cameron Reeves in a Porsche GT3. 

In the Classic handicap competition, Peter Ullrich still leads in his 1963 Jensen CV8, with his lead extending to one minute and 11 seconds over Leigh Achterberg’s Porsche 944.

Second placed Andrew White surrendered his podium place late in the day when his beautiful 1961 Volvo 122s suffered head gasket failure.

Steve Glenney has steered his Subaru WRX STI into the lead of GT4, while Jon Siddins has moved into the lead of Classic GT.

The third day of the event was the longest of the rally, with eight stages over a total distance of 138km, including two stages over 35km in length.

Matt Close had led the field after day two, but with longer stages in front of him, White made his move, hinting that the battle for the lead could go right down to the wire on the final day on Saturday.

“We’re feeling more comfortable in the car each day and trying not to extract too much from it to the detriment of the tyres,” White said.

“We’re going to try some unorthodox suspension adjustments and alignment settings tonight, which we think will prolong the life of the front tyres in particular.

“We’re fairly confident the changes we’re going to make will allow the tyres to make it to the end.”

Craig Dean lies in third place in his Ford Mustang Shelby GT, nearly five minutes from the lead, however, he and his Italian-born American co-driver, Alex Gelsomino, are keeping their eyes firmly on their rear vision mirror with Michael Pritchard’s Dodge Viper just 17 seconds in arrears.

Seven-times Targa Tasmania winners, Jim Richards and Barry Oliver, are in fifth place in their Porsche GT4.

It has been a similarly tight tussle for the lead in the GT4 category for Showroom 4WD cars, with former Targa winner Steve Glenney taking the lead on the final stage of the day in his Subaru WRX STi.

Ben Manion (Subaru WRX STi) led the field after day two, but he has slipped back to second, 24 seconds behind Glenney, and 13 seconds ahead of the Lamborghini Huracan of Tony Quinn.

For the first two days of the event, Glenney called the pacenotes for driver Ben Newman, but switched to the driver’s seat on day three and set an astonishing pace that has put them into the lead.

“We’ve had a really good day – to be a minute and a half behind at the start of the day and make that time up and more is a really good result for us,” Glenney said.

“The longer stages really played into our hands and gave us more opportunity to make up time. We’ve got a small misfire in the engine which we think is just an electronic glitch, but we’ll fix that tonight and be good to go tomorrow.”

Classic handicap leader, Peter Ullrich, was relieved to get to the end of the day still in the lead.


“We’ve had a difficult day to be honest – us, not the car,” he explained. “We had a bad morning – we weren’t quite on the pace this morning.

“You have days like that when you’re not quite switched on, but thankfully it got better this afternoon.”

There has been plenty of change in the Classic GT battle, with overnight leader Matthew Cardinaels crashing out in his Datsun 240Z, handing the lead to the similar car of Jon Siddins. The Victorian now has a comfortable advantage of nearly four minutes over Kim Barwick’s Holden Commodore.

In other competitions, Andrew Bollom (Mazda RX7 SP) leads Early Modern, Chris Crowe (Holden HSV Coupe 4) leads Modern after long-time leader Roderick Neville stopped on the final stage of the day, and the Nissan Skyline GT-R of Jeff Beable is four minutes clear of the pack in GT Sports Trophy.

Wayne Clark’s 1938 Dodge Speedster Special leads the Vintage class ahead of Graham Copeland’s 1936 Desoto Special.

On day four, competitors head down the west coast of Tasmania for a further seven stages totalling 91.87km. The longest stage of the day is the popular Hellyer Gorge test at 20.46km.

Targa crews will overnight in the tourist town of Strahan.

Targa Tasmania 2019 Spectator Guide

With more than 33 competitive stages covering an overall total distance of 2000km, there are a veritable endless choice of spectator vantage points at Targa Tasmania from April 29 to May 4.

As the time-honoured tarmac rally sweeps the length and breadth of the state, we have compiled an exhaustive Spectator’s Guide that covers everything you need to know to help you safely enjoy the event.


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Porsche gun eyes Targa redemption

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