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White gets Close attention on Day 3

Jason and John White continue to resist the challengers with another stoic display to lead Targa Tasmania after Day 3.

The Sideling provides a great driving experience

The Whites negotiated six special stages in their powerful Dodge Viper that totalled 65.79km to hold a 19 second edge.

In what has been a clinical display, the Whites have managed to set fastest times on 13 of the 15 special stages to date as Targa heads for the west coast swing tomorrow.

Ensuring the Whites will be pushed all the way in their quest to claim a remarkable seventh title in the ultimate Australian tarmac rally, Matthew Close and Cameron Reeves won special stage 12 which saw their deficit drop to just 11 seconds.

But as they did on the previous day, the Whites pressed hard late in the day to increase their margin over the Close Porsche 911 GT3 and pick up a valuable eight seconds.

As dry conditions continue, Steve Glenney and Andy Sarandis occupy third outright in their Subaru WRX STI at plus 37 seconds, but head the GT4 standings by one minutes 52 seconds from Angus Kennard and Ian Wheeler in a Nissan GTR.

The Porsche GT3 911 RS of Michael Pritchard and Gary Mourant makes it two Porsches in the top four with the pair 2 minutes and 13 seconds in arrears.

White is concerned that his tyres will become an issue over the final three days.

“We did a good pace through the Sideling and we weren’t sparing our tyres through, but after that I felt we needed to back off a little, but as soon as we did that Matt Close started taking five-second chunks out of us,” Jason White said.

“We’ll do some wheel alignment tweaks tonight and try and even out the tyre wear a bit.”

Close, on the other hand, is feeling confident with his rubber.

“Our tyre and suspension package is working very well,” Close said.

“The Sideling was great - all top three drivers had what we thought was a pretty good go and but to have three very different cars all come out within two seconds of each other is just incredible.”

Glenney has an eye on the forecast, hoping for some wet weather.

“We’re managing to stay in touch, but we need some rain’” Glenney said.

“Rain is a big leveler with horsepower and tyres, but all we can do is stay in touch.”

In Classic GT, Michael and Daniel Bray in a 1975 Holden Torana have opened up a three minute 48 second buffer over the rest of the class.

He was under pressure from the hard charging Jon and Gina Siddins, but the 1970 Datson 240Z crashed out of TS12 taking the pressure off the Brays.

“We backed off a little bit when we saw Jon Siddins had crashed out,” Michael Bray said. “But we found out when you do that you lose rhythm and get out of sync with the calls and the driving, so sometimes it’s easier to keep the pace up.

“We’ve got a pretty good lead, but it’s also a long event, so we’re just aiming to keep it straight and get to the end now.”

In the Duttons Garage Early Modern class, Josh Sutcliffe and Jon Mitchell stretched their overnight lead to 1 minute and 9 seconds.

Adam Gosling and Ian Noble have risen to the front in the Rookie Early Modern while Jeff Morton and Steve Fisher have extended their advantage to 56 seconds in Rookie GT. Justin Gan and David Hart (1978 Porsche 911) are showing the way with a decisive margin in Rookie Classic GT.

The Country Club GT Sports Trophy sees Martin Duursma and Richard Wodhams in a 2013 Lotus Exige S V6 maintain the edge while in Spirit of Tasmania Thoroughbred Trophy standings Jack Waldron and Vin Gregory in a 1981 Mitsubishi Sigma hold a commanding lead.

Brian and Justin Marshall have protected their lead in the TSD Trophy in their VW Polo GTi.

Graham Copeland and Josh Herbert are continuing to take charge of the Classic Handicap in their 1941 GMC Jimmy Special, leading by one minute four seconds.

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