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Course tweaks for ninth running of Targa High Country

Changes to the route structure for the ninth running of Targa High Country based in Victoria’s north-east, from November 9 to 11 are likely to remain intact for the immediate future.

Playing host to the final and deciding round of the inaugural CAMS Australian Targa Championship, the Mount Buller-based event will see changes chiefly affecting day 1, on the Friday.

Over the past few years, the 185-car Targa High Country field has headed to Euroa on the southern side of Benalla to open the event, but this year will travel to Eildon.

Devils River and Skyline have been moved to Leg 1, after being previously included in the Leg 3 schedule.

The day take in eight closed road stages, up two from previous years, and include a lunch stop at Eildon before returning to the mountain.

“Bits of road that we are using (Eildon/Jamieson road) we’ve used on Sunday for years,” Hamish Marquis,  Targa Australia Clerk of Course, said.

“Devils River and Skyline are exactly the same as what we have run in the past, we’ve just moved those to the Friday.

The only stages which remain intact for Leg 1 from previous years, are the runs off and up the mountain - the 6.76km Mirimbah 1 (TS 1) and 18.29km Mt Buller 1 (TS 8).

On Saturday, Leg 2 is largely unchanged with the eight stages, totalling approximately 74km, the shortest collective competitive day of the event with a lunch stop at Whitfield, in the King Valley.

This will include the annual street stage at Mansfield.

The field will then be displayed on the main street as part of the event’s Targafest, where fans can admire the competitors and machinery at close quarters.

Leg 3 will again commence with the 6.76km Mirimbah run off Mount Buller. 

Competitors will then head to the leviathan 48.77km Jamieson stage, which then heads straight into the 39.95km challenge of Eildon, the lunch stop on the final day.

After Eildon is TS 20, the final and potentially championship-deciding 18.29km Mount Buller test.

The final leg of four stages totals 113.77km and will see an earlier-than-usual finish, with the implementation of the inaugural Championship dinner on Sunday evening.

“It would be nice if we could continue with this course for a few years. But we will just have to see how it plays out this time,” Hamish Marquis said.

The CAMS Australian Modern Targa Championship picture sees Paul Stokell (Lotus Exige), leading the  standings on 206 points ahead of John Ireland and Jason White, both in Dodge Vipers.

Stokell has amassed 218 points in GT2 with Ireland in second place on 192, while White is on 170.

GT4 sees Nathan Stokes (2012 Subaru) hold a 23-point lead over Steve Glenney (2015 Subaru WRX STI).

Michael and Daniel Bray are on the cusp of sealing victory in the CAMS Australia Classic Targa Championship and Shannons Classic GT category after a stunning season, in their 1975 Holden Torana.

Shannons Classic is far from resolved, with Peter Gluskie holding a 15-point advantage in his 1985 BMW E30 325i over Graham Copeland (1941 GMC Jimmy Special), with Ashley Yelds (1961 Volvo 122S) 25 points off the lead in third.

Early Modern is on a knife-edge with Joshua Sutcliffe (2006 Subaru), holding a skinny 3-point buffer over Liam Howarth (1995 Nissan Skyline GTR) with Peter Roberts (Nissan Skyline R32), a further 29 points back.

TSD Trophy standings sees Darryl Marshall, head the way on 170 points from Peter Taylor (Lotus Elise S) on 149.

The Thoroughbred Trophy situation sees Geoff Storr (1978 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV) going into THC with a 19-point lead, over the 1984 Audi quattro of Jim Kelly.

Meanwhile, in GT Sports Trophy, Martin Duursma (2018 Lotus Exige Cup 430) sits on 153 points with Richard Woodman (2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STI) second on 125.

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