GT2 set to be a Close call at Targa Tasmania
a man who was a late starter to the world of racing, ironically due to a career
at sea working on oil tankers, Matt Close has achieved much success in his
20-year motorsport career.
Close is the defending Targa Tasmania GT2 champion and is predicting a close
contest when Targa Tasmania gets underway on Monday
stars Jason and John White in their Dodge Viper, along with Tony Quinn and
Naomi Tillett in their Porsche GT3 RS and last year’s runners up Michael
Pritchard and Gary Mourant, also in a Dodge Viper, are considered the biggest
threats, however Close will also be keeping a keen eye on a couple of locals –
Peter Nunn and Keith Johnstone.
“I've got my eye on a smoky if the event turns up a lot of wet roads - Pete
Nunn and Keith Johnstone in a new Porsche Cayman GTS will be hard to match with
the softer rubber they can run. It's a very smart combination, and Pete is a
gun driver and won't hang around if he gets his conditions,” Close said.
Last year, Close and co-driver Cameron Reeves took out the GT2 class in a 2015
Porsche GT3. This year, the defending champions will be competing in a 4.0
litre 2017 Porsche GT3 RS, however, they haven’t had a lot of time to
familiarise themselves with the vehicle.
“We were offered an incredible opportunity by Porsche Australia; we took
delivery of the car on April 3rd,” Close said.
“I’ve done 250kms of highway driving in it,” Close added. “I’m on a very steep
learning curve when we start next week.”
“Cameron (Reeves) hasn’t even seen the car. I’m sure he thinks it’s all just a
joke and I’m bringing the red GT3,” Close said.
This will be Close’s 13th Targa Tasmania and he says there is one simple reason
he keeps returning.
“It’s driving those awesome roads in Tasmania,” he said. “It’s like racing 40
different race tracks in one week.
“Also, the friendships you develop over the years with other competitors,
organisers and volunteers is important. I missed Targa in 2015 and I was not a
happy camper; I actually had to fly down for the finish to feel a part of it,”
Close started racing in the late 1990’s, competing in a 1997 Subaru WRX, a move
that didn’t amuse his boss at the time.
“I started hill climbing in my company car, and after winning the Collingrove
Australian Hillclimb Championship I was encouraged to buy a dedicated race car
after that,” Close said.
As for the best driver he has seen?
“I think I speak for many Tarmac competitors here – Jim Richards. He has won so
many races in so many different disciplines; it’s hard to compare anyone else
to that,” Close said.
Featuring 35 stages, Targa Tasmania gets underway this Monday, 24th April and
runs for six days, finishing on the Hobart waterfront at PW1 at lunchtime on
Saturday, 29th April.
Marshall finishes Day 3 well on top in TSD
Falcon Ute pairing of Darryl and Andrew Marshall have maintained their
dominance of the TSD Trophy on day three of Targa Tasmania.
Day Two heads to George Town
Day two of Targa Tasmania heads to George Town this afternoon for the Super Stage, one of the most popular stages of the event.
White remains on top after Day 2
After a hectic opening day that took the Targa Tasmania field from Launceston to St Helens and back, day two of the epic rally was the event’s shortest, with just a quick sprint around the streets of George Town in the state’s north.
Drivers quotes - Day 2
Here are quotes from some of our leading drivers after Day 2.