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Winners crowned in 25th Targa Tasmania

Matt Close has won Targa Tasmania for the first time, winning the 25th anniversary event by an emphatic margin of six minutes and 41 seconds in the premier GT2 class.
Winners are grinners at Targa Tasmania 2014
Driving a 2015 Porsche GT3 with co-driver Cameron Reeves, the duo took the lead mid-way through the penultimate day when arch-rival Jason White retired his new Dodge Viper with engine failure on the run from Strahan to Hobart.

In the GT4 competition, Steve Glenney was dominant until the very end, running away with an easy three minute and 16 second win in his Subaru WRX STI over the pre-event favourite, Tony Quinn in a Lamborghini.

Queenslander Leigh Achterberg held on to win the Classic handicap in his 1982 Porsche 944, a minute clear of the 1963 Jensen of Petter Ullrich.

Jon Siddins was another easy winner on the final day, taking the Classic outright title in his 1970 Datsun 240Z by five minutes from 2014 winner, Canberra’s Barry Faux, in a 1985 Mazda RX-7.

Victory didn’t come easily for Close, despite his nine-minute buffer at the start of the day. An early scare on the opening stage when he got sideways was followed by a flat tyre on the penultimate stage. But Close, taking part in his 12th Targa Tasmania, secured his first victory.

“We had a bit of a fright on the Tinderbox Stage with a big moment and then three kays into Pelverata one of our rear tyres blew out,” Close said. “We had a relatively good lead, but you never know.

“It was a very stressful hour – we got in before the sweep car and within our late time, but you just don’t need that.

“It’s taken me 12 Targas to win – I hope it doesn’t take another 12 for my next one.

“We’ve already started planning for next year and we’ll make a few changes to the car and we’ll get better.”

The battle for the minor placings went the way of Hobart surgeon Michael Pritchard in a Dodge Viper. Seven times Targa winner, Jim Richards, charged through the final day’s six stages in his Porsche GT4 to finish in third place, but some four minutes adrift of Pritchard.

An impressive drive saw motoring journalist Mike Sinclair claim fourth place in his Renault Megane.

Glenney’s victory in GT4 was comprehensive, but only came after he swapped seats with Ben Newman after day two and took over the driving reigns. The Nissan GTR of Angus Kennard followed home Tony Quinn’s Lamborghini to claim third place.

“This is my second win in Targa Tasmania – I’ve had far too many seconds before this,” Glenney said.

“It’s different this year in GT4 compared to outright previously, but I think our stage times would have had us on an outright podium anyway if there was one.

“It’s been a bit weird having started the event in the navigator’s seat and taking over driving after Ben (Newman) had blurry vision, but it’s great to win.”

Jon Siddins was in control of Classic GT across the event, and the Targa veteran was delighted to secure an outright win.

“This is my 15th Targa Tasmania and I’ve had podiums and wins in various classic categories along the way,” Siddins said.

“It probably wasn’t as hard as my other Targas, but this win is a bit special because it was the first Targa Tasmania with my wife as the navigator. She was excellent, which made it easier.

“She reckons now there’s no way anyone is kicking her out now.”

Alan Roe and Michael Lloyd suffered the ultimate heartbreak, retiring from the event, and the Early Modern lead, on the 37th of 38 stages. This gave victory to Andrew Bollom in a 1995 Mazda RX-7.

“It’s been a great tussle all week and it’s been up and down. We led for a while on Day Two, but we’ve had some great battles right throughout the week,” Bollom said.

“There’s a great variety of cars in this category and they all have their weaknesses and strengths, so it’s made for one of the great races in this class.

“We came down here looking for a position in class, so to come away with a category win is just awesome.”

Jeff Beable led front start to finish in GT Sports Trophy after a faultless display in his Nissan Skyline, and in TSD Trophy Darryl Marshall came from an overnight third place to take the win in his Ford Falcon Ute.

The Vintage class was won by Wayne Clark’s 1938 Dodge Speedster Special.

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