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What the leaders said after Day 1

Our stage reporter talked to some of the leading contenders through the classes after the opening three stages.

Matt Close and Cameron Reeves (Porsche GT3 RS)



STEVE GLENNEY: Driving the Lotus is crazy different to anything else I’ve ever driven.

It’s been a busy hectic day, but we’re in touch with the leaders.

It’s much nicer to be learning a new car and still be in touch rather than playing catch up, so it’s a good little package and I think it can be an outright contender.

MATT CLOSE: We don’t think about not finishing last year. That book’s closed and it’s a new event and you open a new book. The longer I come here, the less your expectations.

We just do what we have to do and hit every corner as hard as we feel comfortable with.

We’ll be right in the mix again, but if it gets wet, who knows what may happen.

I won’t be too brave in the wet.

JASON WHITE: I don’t think we’ve ever had a more eventful opening day to Targa Tasmania.

We left the ceremonial start at the casino and had smoke coming from underneath the dash and we thought car was going to burn to the ground.

It turned out to be some wiring close to the exhaust, but it cut out the right hand bank on the motor, so we did the first stage on five cylinders, but it was a low base time so it didn’t knock us around too much.

After that, our trusty service crew jumped into action and fixed that.

We had a misfire in between gears in George Town, and we were slower than our time last year, but we think we can fix that fairly easily too.


STEVEN VAN DER BRUG: GT4 is an incredibly competitive class.

Our main aim is to finish and if we do that, we’ll be happy with just doing that.

Last year was our first time in Targa Tasmania and if we can improve on that a little bit on each stage, it would be fantastic.

We finished sixth last year, so a podium finish for us would be fantastic.




MICHAEL BRAY: We didn’t do Targa North West so today is all about settling in for us.

We had a few minor issues with overheating this morning, but we don’t think it’s anything major.

It’s a freshened up motor so we may have to make a few tweaks to the fuel mixture and we should be okay.

JON SIDDONS: Today’s always a bit of a shakedown, so it doesn’t mean much, but it’s always fun to tear around George Town.

I built this car in 2008 and after we crashed out last year, I thought it was time to strip it right back and go right through it because it’s been going like this for 10 years.

The wiring harness was original, so that makes it 50 years old.

Today felt good, so now I’m going to start playing with suspension settings to improve the performance.

MICK DOWNEY: We want to be top three all week and today’s gone pretty well as we expected it would with only a handful of seconds between the top three teams.

We went hard in the first stage, but the base time was low, so we didn’t gain any time and then we pushed it a bit too hard in George Town and mucked up a couple of corners, which cost us seconds.

To be top three right now is exactly where we wanted to be, but we’re expecting some wet weather later in the week, so we’ll just try to get as far in front as we can in the dry and see what happens after that.




NIK PRIESTON: We wanted to be in front after day one and then day two and so on.

I love it when the weather is good because we can go as fast as we want.

Even the rain later in the week hasn’t got us too worried.

A couple of our main rivals are aquaphobic, so that might be good for us anyway.

We didn’t finish last year, so it’s unfinished business for us this year.




PETER NUNN: We're happy to be in the lead, as it's a brand new car (Porsche 996 Turbo) for us and we haven't driven it in anger before so it's good to be able to be leading the first day.

We've driven Porsches before, but it's very different with a rear engine, four-wheel-drive and turbocharged, so it's got more power and more weight.

It's completely different to the (Porsche) Cayman we ran last year.



MITCHELL RINGUET: We finished third in Targa North West, so a podium for us this week would be great.

It’s a long week and if we just keep on doing what we are doing we should wind up with something around our necks.

This is our first Targa Tasmania competition, so it’s a fair step up.

We had a few minor brake issues today, but we’ll change the pads and everything will be okay. We’ve had a very good run today.




TYSON COWIE: I’ve always had Escorts going back more than 15 years and they have a bit of motorsport pedigree, which makes it perfect for Targa Tasmania.

This is our first Targa Tasmania after finishing third in our class at Targa Great Barrier Reef.

There’s still a long way to go, but we’ve settled in pretty quick today and the car feels good.



DARRYL MARSHALL: This is the best first day we’ve ever had in any Targa event, with the lowest points ever.

The more you do this type of event in this category, the better you get at it.

Experience is very handy because it’s so technical.

There were a few changes in George Town today which caught us out a bit because we thought it was going to be the same as last year, and we didn’t recce the stage beforehand.



ADAM GARWOOD: This is my first tarmac rally, but I’m enjoying it.

You’ve just got to pace yourself and use caution at times, but it’s only the first day and a long way to go.

It definitely helps having an experienced navigator like Bec alongside, so it’s great.

I’ve had a bit of a dip today, but I won’t be going 10 tenths at any stage, so we’ll go at a speed we’re comfortable with and see how it goes.

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