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Close refuses to wave white flag

Porsche flyer Matt Close remains upbeat about his chances of reeling in the tearaway Dodge Viper of Jason White with two days of Targa Tasmania remaining.

Porsche flyer Matt Close remains upbeat about his chances of reeling in the tearaway Dodge Viper of Jason White with two days of Targa Tasmania remaining.

After passing the halfway mark in competitive distance, Close and co-driver Cameron Reeves are 37 seconds behind in outright standings.

Close has affirmed he will not stop pushing.

“I don’t think the Viper is as bad on tyres as the Whites are saying,” Close said. “I reckon they will be okay on that front”.

Close blamed the loss of time on the Riana stage to an oil slick.

“We had to go slow on Riana with an oil slick which went for about five kays.

“But we won’t stop trying. We’ve got 500bhp he’s got 700bhp and our car operates very differently. 

“99 bends should help us a bit better tomorrow.”

Jason and John White again unleashed the Viper late in the day to move to their most decisive lead in the competition and in the race for GT2 honours.

The pair did the damage on TS19 by extending their led by 12 seconds through the 36km Riana stage which was exaggerated by the oil slick that affected Close.

With conditions staying dry, the Whites have thrown caution to the wind by maintaining their attack plan despite running the risk of using up their tyres.

Conversely Close remains in good shape with the rubber on his Porsche standing up to the heat of battle.

Steve Glenney and Andy Sarandis started the day plus 37 seconds but continued to leak time through the afternoon and are now two minutes and 11seconds back in third outright. However, the Subaru WRX STI pair remain clearly at the top of the GT4 standings.

Jason White continues to raise concerns about whether the Dodge’s tyres can last for another two days.

“Our tyres are still a bit of a worry. We went as fast as we dare go on them today,” White said.

“If we can hang onto our 37 second lead we should be okay but there’s no way we are going to get to Hobart with a two minute lead.”

Michael and Daniel Bray have forged to a decisive lead in their 1975 Holden Torana in Shannons Classic GT. The Brays are now five minutes 41 seconds ahead of Anthony Genocchio and Scott Hamilton, who took over second late in the day in their 1983 HDT Commodore. Bray revised his battleplan after lunch to full-on attack mode.

“We tried to conserve the car a bit today before and lunch and take no risks,” Bray said. “That didn’t really work so after lunch we started going flat out again. We are just trying to minimise the risks to get to the finish.”

Joshua Sutcliffe and Jon Mitchell (2006 Subaru S204) continue to lead the way in Duttons Garage Early Modern. Sutcliffe has a two minute 39 second buffer over the 1995 Nissan Skyline R33 GTR V-Spec of Liam Howarth and Larry Howarth.

Sutcliffe is satisfied with the tactics of maintaining a hard pace.

“We are quite happy with where we are sitting at the moment. We just keep pushing and our aim is to just get to the end of day and then worry tomorrow. The tyres are good and everything is sweet,” Sutcliffe said.

The Rookie Early Modern class sees Adam Gosling and Ian Noble, driving a 2002 BMW E46 M3, stretching their lead over Leigh Ford and Nicholas Browne (2003 Honda Integra Type R) to 5min37sec.

Jeff Morton and Steve Fisher continue to lead in their 2017 Lotus Exige 

with the Subaru STI of Jesse Medwin and Zak Brakey moving into second plus two minutes 44 seconds in the race for Rookie GT honours.

Justin Gan and David Hart (1978 Porsche 911) are the sole survivors in Rookie Classic GT.

Martin Duursma and Richard Wodhams (2013 Lotus Exige S V6) hold upper hand in the Country Club GT Sports Trophy class after Alan Gluyas and Heather Gluyas (2014 Renault Megane RS 265 Cup) moved into second place.

Status quo remains in Spirit of Tasmania Thoroughbred Trophy with Jack Waldron and Vin Gregory (1981 Mitsubishi Sigma) holding a huge 13min55sec advantage over Geoff Storr and Steve Caplice (1978 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV). 

The TSD Trophy has seen a switch of lead with Darryl and Peter Marshall staking a claim in their 2002 Ford Falcon Pursuit Ute with 38 points ahead of the 2011 VW Polo GTi of Brian and Justin Marshall who have lost ground on 61 points. 

Graham Copeland and Josh Herbert in the 1941 GMC Jimmy Special continue to head the Classic Handicap class in the second oldest entry in field. Behind Copeland, Nik Prieston and Dylan Braithwaite (1975 Fiat 131 Abarth) have moved into second, three minutes 49 seconds behind.

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