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Targa set for cliffhanger finish as Close cuts lead

Matt Close has set-up the prospect of a grandstand finish after chopping into the advantage of Jason White following an intense battle on the penultimate day of Targa Tasmania.

Jason White on Arrowsmith
Porsche 911 GT3 chargers Close and co-driver Cameron Reeves cut 10 seconds off Jason and John White’s lead. The Whites have been the pacesetters since the iconic tarmac rally started five days ago.
Any chance of a lead change will have to wait until the final stages south of Hobart on the last day tomorrow with the six stages totalling just 66.34km as the Whites protect a 27 second lead.
The White’s Dodge Viper has managed to withstand the pressure applied all week long by Close.
After entering Day 5 with a 37 second edge, the Whites saw their lead take an eight-second dive through the 8.70km Tarraleah run, the fourth stage of the day.
Then through TS26, the 8.01km run through Molesworth, Close clipped another two seconds off the Viper.
On the TS27 route through 6.72km along Grasstree Hill which completed Day 5, the gap between White and Close remained static.
Close was frustrated not to have eaten away any more time.
“It was disappointing on the Strahan stage to find out that even though we were nine seconds faster than Jason (White) he cleaned the stage, so it all means nothing,” Close declared.
“He only just cleaned it and we cleaned it by 10 seconds. So it’s bloody disappointing to be honest. 
“If we are a chance to win we need to concentrate on what we are doing and stop worry about what Jason is doing.
“We just need to hit every stage as hard as we can and just keep it on the road and keep the pressure on.”
After voicing concern about running out of tyres, White is now confident he will have the grip to make it to the finish.
“We lost a bit of time trying to look after our tyres. But they are okay and we’ve got enough rubber to make it through,” Jason White, who also leads Wrest Point GT2 class, said.
Steve Glenney and Andy Sarandis are third in their Subaru WRX STI and lead GT2, training the top pair by over two minutes.
Angus Kennard and Ian Wheeler are second in the RDA Brakes GT4 class in their Nissan GTR. Mark Balcombe and Brian Foster, who had been running third in the class, hit a tree about 3.3km into the opening Strahan stage in their Nissan R35 GTR, bringing a halt to their campaign.
Shannons Classic GT sees the 1975 Holden Torana of Michael and Daniel Bray continue to dominate with an eight minute 52 second lead over the 1980 Jaguar XJS of Mark Hammond and Dennis Neagle.
Anthony Genocchio and Scott Hamilton were also eliminated after running second in the Classic GT class when their 1983 Holden HDT Commodore stopped on the high speed run through the 52.58km Mt Arrowsmith stage.
“It’s been a really great day. Lucky for us we’ve been able to have some fun and just cruise through,” Bray said.
In Duttons Garage Early Modern, Josh Sutcliffe and Jon Mitchell (2006 Subaru) are pulling out all stops to withstand the challenge from Liam and Larry Howarth (1995 Nissan Skyline R33 GTR).
Rookie Early Modern remains unchanged as Adam Gosling and Ian Noble have forged to a decisive lead in their 2002 BMW E46 M3. 
Although Gosling has admitted the M3 has developed an engine problem.
“We’ve developed a bit of an engine misfire and it got worse after lunch. Don’t know what it is yet but we may need our buffer,” Gosling cautioned.
The 2005 Mitsubishi Evo of Colin O’Brien and Rhys Llewellyn remain eight minutes and one second in arrears.
Jeff Morton and Steve Fisher remain circumspect about the huge lead of more than 13 minutes they hold in Rookie GT in their Lotus Exige.
“The lead doesn’t tell the whole truth. Some of the cars behind us have copped a bit of a penalty,” Morton.
“We’ll just continue enjoying the roads and bring it home to the finish hopefully without any dramas.”
The 1978 Porsche 911 of Justin Gan and David Hart are set to sail to victory in the Rookie Classic GT race.
Martin Duursma and Richard Wodhams occupy top spot in the Country Club GT Sports Trophy category with Kristian Downing and Clayton Weber leaping into second position in their 2011 Subaru WRX STI. 
Barring any last minute surprises positions appear to be resolved in the Spirit of Tasmania Thoroughbred Trophy with Jack Waldron and Vin Gregory holding a huge lead in the 1981 Mitsubishi Sigma
The all Marshall affair appears to have swung heavily in favour of Darryl and Peter Marshall in the 2002 Ford Falcon Pursuit Ute after second-placed Brian and Justin Marshall (2011 VW Polo GTi) amassed more penalty points in the Budget TSD Trophy field.
There were changes to the minor placings in the Shannons Classic Handicap behind leader Graham Copeland and Josh Herbert’s 1941 GMC Jimmy Special. Ashley Yelds and Charlie Hughes moved up to second place in their 1961 Volvo 122S after the 1975 Fiat 131 Abarth of Nike Prieston and Dylan Braithwaite stopped on the opening stage of the day. The pair was able to rejoined the action on the penultimate stage of the day.
Results – Targa Tasmania Day 5 of 6 (Provisional)
OVERALL 
1 Jason White/John White 2016 Dodge Viper ACR Extreme
2 Matt Close/Cameron Reeves 2017 Porsche GT3 RS +27sec
3 Steve Glenney/ Andy Sarandis 2015 Subaru WRX STI +2min47sec
4 Michael Pritchard/Gary Mourant Porsche 911 GT3 RS +4min15sec
5 Paul Stokell/Erin Kelly 2014 Lotus Exige S +4min44sec
6 Angus Kennard/Ian Wheeler 2015 Nissan GT-R R35 +5min33sec
7 John Ireland/Janet Binns 2017 Dodge Viper +8min35sec
8 Craig Dean/Mary Hughes 2015 Ford Mustang +10min01sec
9 Alan Roe/Michael Lloyd BMW M2 +10min15sec
10 Peter Nunn/Keith Johnstone 2016 Porsche GTS +10min24sec
Wrest Point GT2
1 Jason White/John White 2016 Dodge Viper ACR Extreme
2 Matt Close/Cameron Reeves 2017 Porsche GT3 RS +27sec
3 Michael Pritchard/Gary Mourant Porsche 911 GT3 RS +4min15sec
RDA Brakes GT4
1 Steve Glenney/Andy Sarandis 2015 Subaru WRX STI 
2 Angus Kennard/Ian Wheeler 2015 Nissan GT-R R35 +2min46sec
3 Paul Dowie/Bernie Webb 2010 Audi TT Rs +8min38sec
Shannons Classic GT
1 Michael Bray/Daniel Bray 1975 Holden Torana 
2 Mark Hammond/Dennis Neagle 1980 Jaguar XJS +8min52sec
3 Stewart McAuley/Philippe Etienne 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera +11min10sec
Shannons Classic Handicap
1 Graham Copeland/Josh Herbert 1941 GMC Jimmy Special 
2 Ashley Yelds/Charlie Hughes 1961 Volvo 122S +8min31sec
3 David Gilliver/Nigel Shellshear 1979 Ferrari 308 GTB +9min10sec
Duttons Garage Early Modern
1 Joshua Sutcliffe/Jon Mitchell 2006 Subaru S204 
2 Liam Howarth/Larry Howarth 1995 Nissan Skyline R33 GTR V-Spec +1min34sec
3 Adam Kaplan/Aleshia Penney, 2004 BMW M3 +2min08sec
Country Club GT Sports Trophy
1 Martin Duursma/Richard Wodhams 2013 Lotus Exige S V6 
2 Kristian Downing/Clayton Webber 2011 Subaru WRX STI +3min40sec
3 Peter Pisko/Lance Patullo 2012 Audi TT RS +6min40sec 
Spirit of Tasmania Thoroughbred Trophy
1 Jack Waldron/Vin Gregory 1981 Mitsubishi Sigma 
2 Geoff Storr/Steve Caplice 1978 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV 14:05s +13min27sec
3 Jim Kelly/Evan Kelly 1984 Audi Quattro Coupe +35min35sec
Budget TSD Trophy
1 Darryl Marshall/Peter Marshall 2002 Ford Falcon Pursuit Ute 49 points
2 Brian Marshall/Justine Marshall 2011 VW Polo GTi 80 points
3 Peter Taylor/Tristan Taylor 2013 Lotus Elise S 89 points
Rookie Classic GT
1 Justin Gan/David Hart 1978 Porsche 911 
2 Gregg Taylor/Callum Taylor 1978 Ford Escort 1800 RS +1hr37min52sec
Rookie Early Modern
1 Adam Gosling/Ian Noble 2002 BMW E46 M#
2 Colin O’Brien/Rhys Llewellyn 2005 Mitsubishi Evo +8min01sec
3 Leigh Ford/Nicholas Browne 2003 Honda Integra Type R +8min04sec
Rookie GT
1 Jeff Morton/Steve Fisher 2017 Lotus Exige 
2 Jesse Medwin/Zak Brakey 2011 Subaru STI Spec C +13min22secs
3 Matthew Gibbins/Tim Jurd 2008 Nissan GTR +16min11sec

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