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White's change of fortune ominous for opposition

Twelve months ago on the opening day of Targa North West, Jason White’s campaign ended disastrously, the mechanical failure of his Dodge Viper eventually costing him the 2018 Australian Targa Championship.
Jason and John White on TS2
White won three of the four events in the 2018 Championship – Targa Tasmania, Targa Great Barrier Reef and Targa High Country - but his poor start at this event Targa North West last year cost him the overall title. White and co-driver John White had their Dodge Viper ACR Extreme in the lead from start to finish in their local event. After establishing a one minute lead on Saturday, they extended their buffer further on Sunday’s 88 competitive kilometres to finish one minute 28 seconds ahead of reigning modern Australian Targa Champion Paul Stokell and co-driver Kate Catford in their Lotus Exige. Third place went to Hobart surgeon, Michael Pritchard (2016 Porsche GT3 RS), and overnight second, John Ireland, finished fourth in his Dodge Viper after clutch problems on the opening run through Hellyer Gorge ruined his podium campaign. The top three outright were also the top three in the GT2 battle. Jason White was relieved when he crossed the line. “It’s an important win for a whole lot of reasons – it’s our home town rally with some of our favourite roads and we’ve finally won this one and got the monkey off our back,” White said. “It’s a great start to the championship too, which is probably the most important thing for us. Not finishing here last year cost us the championship when we managed to win everything else but this one.” “We want to win the championship right or wrong and we want to win Targa Tasmania as well, so we can equal Jim Richards’ record of eight wins.” Jesse Medwin and Zak Brakey lead the GT4 class in their 2011 Subaru WRX STI Spec C for nearly all of the event, but problems late in the day handed the win to the 2008 Subaru WRX STI of Ralph and Malcolm Norton. In the Classic GT class, Mick Downey took the honours here in Burnie in his 1979 Holden Commodore VB, taking maximum points in his quest to win the Classic Outright CAMS Australian Targa Championship in 2019, having finished third in 2018. In Classic handicap, Nik Prieston and Dylan Braithwaite came from behind across the final two stages in their 1975 Fiat Abarth Rallye to beat Peter Gluskie and Samantha Winter’s 1985 BMW E30 325e by 54 seconds. In Early Modern, Jon Mitchell and Anthony Carr (2006 Subaru S204) was pushed all the way by Tim O’Connor and Stuart Benson (2006 Subaru WRX STI Spec C), with both finishing in the top 10 outright. Tony and Sandra Seymour took their 2014 Lotus Exige to victory in the GT Sports Trophy after Mitchell and Darryl Ringue, who looked to be certain winners, had mechanical issues with their Exige on the final stage. Targa veterans, Jack Waldron and Vin Gregory, won the Thoroughbred Trophy in a 1981 Mitsubishi Stigma. Peter Taylor and Tristian Taylor showed their mastery of the TSD class format, adding just one point for the day to finish with six points from Mathew and Harrison Jones who were second with 27 points. The next event is Targa Tasmania, which gets underway in Launceston on April 29 and concludes six days later in Hobart on May 4.

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