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What they said - driver quotes from Day 1

Targa’s media team tracked down some competitors for comments after the first day of Targa High Country.

JASON WHITE(2016 Dodge Viper, leading outright, GT2): The championship’s not what we’re focussing on this weekend and unless Paul Stokell does something silly, it’s his to lose, so it’s more about just trying to win the event for us.

He doesn’t look like he’s doing anything too risky so we’ll just concentrate on claiming to claim the event itself.

We wouldn’t mind a bit of rain.

 

MATT CLOSE (2016 Porsche GT3 RS, 2nd outright, GT2): This is our first event since crashing out of Targa Tasmania, so we started pretty conservatively and dialled ourselves in again.

We’re both a bit rusty, but we’re happy with our first day.

We’ve only just set the car up, so there was a lot of fine tuning on the run today.

It’s all about redemption in Targa Tasmania next year – I just want a clean run here so we can have another go at Targa Tasmania.

It would look pretty silly if we came back from a crash and stick it into the trees again, so we’ve just got to be sensible and play ourselves in.

Some of the longer stages on Sunday will suit us better because our tyres don’t degrade as much as Jason White’s Viper.

We took some time off him today where his front tyres were an issue because we don’t suffer the same degradation, so it’s a totally different strategy for us.

 

 ALAN ROE (2016 BMW M2, fifth outright, GT2): It’s good to be at the pointy end of the event and some of the roads today have really suited us.

We didn’t expect to be in the top three coming into the event.

Last year it was a brand new car and it threw plenty of challenges at us, and we’ve been learning to drive it better ever since.

It’s a bit of a surprise to us to be where we are, but it’s also a pretty long event.

These roads today probably suited my driving and the car, but tomorrow will be more of a challenge with fast and sweepy stages and we might struggle to keep up with the leaders.

 

LIAM HOWARTH (1995 Nissan Skyline GTR, leading Dutton Garage Early Modern): Today’s been a great day.

The roads are very good and the car’s going well.

Hopefully we can stay ahead of the competition behind us, which is very tight.

We came into the event hoping to be in the top three, as we have been in the last couple of Targas and while we’ve been on the podium four times before, it would be nice to get that number one spot.

 

GRAEME COPELAND (1941 GMC Jimmys Special, leading Shannons Classic Handicap): I’m knackered. It was hard today and a bit cold as well.

We’ve had a good solid day, but a bit of trouble with traction.

These old tyres don’t hang on very well, but the car’s running like a clock.

I saw some of the vision from Targa Great Barrier Reef and I’ve fixed her up with some decent shocks after I saw what the front-end was doing.

The changes have worked really well.

 PETER TAYLOR (2013 Lotus Elise S, leading TSD Trophy): Some of the times for the stages have been uncharacteristically fast for TSD, in particular the third stage and the sixth stage, which was the same one in reverse.

They were perfect for us in the Lotus, but for the rest of the field they probably were a bit harder to keep up an average speed.

MARK MELETEPOULO (Lotus Exige S, leading Mansfield Shire GT Sports Trophy): We’ve had a great day and we’ve won every stage but one, in which we missed out being fastest by just two seconds.

There’s been a bit of gravel on some of the corners and there’s been a bit of movement in the car today.

The roads have been good and it wasn’t too hot, so the tyres are hanging in there.

The icing on the cake today though was doing a personal best by a long way up Mount Buller on the last stage today, so we’re pretty happy with that.

MICK DOWNEY (Holden Commodore, 2nd Classic GT): My concentration was a bit up and down today, so I found it mentally challenging.

It was a topsy-turvy day and this morning was pretty rough, but I rang my wife and gave her permission to tell me off.

We were still competitive with the leaders so we’ll just keep the pedal to the metal and see what happens for the rest of the weekend.

MICHAEL BRAY (Holden Torana, Classic GT): We’ve had a day to forget.

We can still lose the championship if we don’t finish and Mick Downey wins.

We had brake problems this morning and then this afternoon we lost a bolt out of one of the watts links, so the back end was just flopping about and in our haste to fix it, we forgot to refuel and we ran out of fuel on the last stage, so we’ll cop a time penalty for that.

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