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Vipers battle it out for Wrest Point GT2 honours

They didn’t quite lead from start to finish, but it was pretty close to the perfect Targa Tasmania for Wrest Point GT2 winners Jason and John White.

The 2016 Dodge Viper ACR Extreme mounted crew led for all but one of the 35 stages in a performance that was as close to total domination as it gets.

 

While they were pushed hard on the final day by Michael Pritchard and Gary Mourant in a similar Viper, the lead they had built over the opening five days of the event proved enough.

 

“We were just so lucky with the way it all played out – it was just incredible,” White said.

 

“We had to replace a diff after day one – you only get one opportunity to work on your car and we used ours up very early, but we were just so lucky it happened after the George Town street stage, otherwise we would have been stranded somewhere in the wilderness with a broken diff.

 

“You have good luck and bad and I’d like to say you make your own luck – we work hard for just about everything we do in life, so it’s nice to get a reward every now and then.

 

“I’ve done Targa 20 times and we’ve won it six times and had it taken away from us when when we were leading as many times, so luck does play a part and you can never feel like you’ve got it in the bag.

 

“We’re well aware of how cruel Targa can be, so you never count your chickens until you’re at the finish, so it’s a great feeling this year, I can tell you.

 

“Our car’s reliability has been good too, which is important because it has to last us a few more years.

 

“John is keen to keep going until he turns 70, but I think he’d like to equal Jim Richards’ record of eight wins and maybe go one more.

 

“It’s a long way to travel, so it’s a year at a time for now, but these are the type of things which definitely spur you on to come back for more.”

 

Pritchard never gave up, and incredible speed on days five and six showed that he’s possibly a future Targa Tasmania winner. The final deficit of 34 seconds will have Pritchard rueing the “if onlys”. For the second year in a row the pair finished second in GT2.

 

In third place was last year’s Targa champions, Matt Close and Cameron Reeves, who couldn’t quite match the overall speed of the Dodges this year. Nevertheless, it was another classy performance.

 

Veteran racer Paul Stokell and co-driver Jenny Cole put in an incredible drive over their Lotus Exige to finish in fourth place, just clear of former winners Tony Quinn and Naomi Tillett in their Porsche GT3.

 

WREST POINT GT2

1. Jason White / John White, 2016 Dodge Viper ACR Extreme

2. Michael Pritchard / Gary Mourant, 2016 Dodge Viper ACR, +34s

3. Matt Close / Cameron Reeves, 2015 Porsche GT3, +1m16s

 

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