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Whites take Targa Tasmania overall lead after Day 1

Reigning Targa champions Jason and John White have taken an early overall lead after the opening three stages of Targa Tasmania.

John and Jason White at George Town

The Dodge Viper pair, chasing a seventh win in Australia’s most celebrated tarmac rally event, are five seconds ahead following Day 1 of the event which covers 33 Special Stages across six gruelling days of competition.

Jason White put on a show on the George Town street stage, to finish the day five seconds clear of his nearest rival, Queensland pairing of Paul Stokell and Erin Kelly in their Lotus Exige.

Leading the Shannons Classic GT field and a remarkable sixth outright is the 1970 Datsun 240Z Jon and Gina Siddins.

The pair are six seconds ahead of their nearest class rival, the Holden Torana of Michael and Daniel Bray.

White finished the day, thinking he will have to be more circumspect going forward.

“Leading after day one is a good start, but we probably tried a bit harder

than we really should in George Town as far as tyre wear goes, but it’s just too hard to resist,” White said.

“You get to George Town and there’s people everywhere and it would be a shame not to drive around as quick as you can.

“We’re as confident as we can be that the issues we had at Targa North West are now a thing of the past.”

Stokell, a former circuit ace, also gave it his all on the 4.74 town sprint.

“I went as hard as I could and it was only the horsepower of the Whites and their Dodge Viper which beat me,” Stokell said.

Matt Close and Cameron Reeves are in close attendance, a further two seconds back in third place in their 2017 Porsche GT3 RS.

“We’ve done a few tweaks to the suspension since last year and I’m a lot happier with it,” Close said.

“We sat around at the start of George Town for a very long time, so our tyre pressures weren’t right.

“It took me about four corners to get some heat in them, so that was a bit disappointing, but we’ve got a good package for the rest of the event.”

2018 Targa North West champions Steve Glenney and Andy Sarandis (2015 Subaru WRX STI) sit in fourth ahead of last year’s overall runner-up Michael Pritchard and Gary Mourant (2016 Porsche 911 GT3).

Liam and Larry Howarth sit on top of the Early Modern leader’s board in a 1995 Nissan Skyline GTR. Thrilling the crowd was the 1941 GMC Jimmy Special who leads the Classic handicap competition.

Other class leaders after the opening day are Jeff and Nerida Beable in a 2000 Nissan Skyline R34 (Sports Trophy), Jack and Vin Gregory in a 1981 Mitsubishi Sigma (Thoroughbred Trophy) and Brain and Justin Marshall head the TSD Trophy in a 2011 VW Polo GTI.

Other class leaders see Jeff Morton and Steve Fisher in heading the Rookie Rally GT Class in their 2017 Lotus Exige over Anthony Moss and Julie Hunter in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X by nine seconds.

The Rookie Early Modern is led by Adam Gosling and Ian Noble in a 2002 E46 BMW. 

Rookie Classic GT sees Justin Gan and David Hart in a 1978 Porsche 911 

The battle for the budget TSD Trophy is again an all Marshall affair with Brian and Justin in a 2011 VW Polo GTi finishing the day six points clear of last year’s winners Daryl and Peter Marshall in their 2014 Ford Falcon Ute.

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