Matt Close has taken the lead in the GT2 class of the 25th running of Targa Tasmania after Jason White was handed a 60-second penalty on the opening stage.
Five-time champion, White, is 57 seconds off the lead in the six-day enduro after exceeding the minimum time on the Legana test; designed as a warm up for cars and crews. While only 0.8 seconds under the allowed time, it was enough to attract the hefty penalty, leaving the Tasmanian plenty to do over the final five days.
White showed his potential in his new Dodge Viper ACR Extreme on the final stage at George Town, completing the 4.81 kilometre section three seconds quicker than Victorian, Matt Close in his Porsche GT3.
Close sits three seconds clear of Michael Pritchard in another Dodge with Toby Gill third a further ten seconds back in his 2016 HSV GTS.
“I know it sounds like a terrible cliché, but we’re really focussed on what we are doing and letting the results take care of themselves,” said Close.
“Since we won Targa High Country (in November), we made a few wheel alignment and other adjustments to manage our tyre wear a bit better, but there’s not much else you can do with the new rules.”
Joshua Hilton and Adam Spence are tied in GT4 competition for Showroom 4WD cars.
Tony Quinn is expected to do very well in the GT4 category for 4WD Showroom cars, but had to settle for 8th place today having experienced some early troubles with his Lamborghini
“We’re having an issue with the traction control kicking in – we’re not allowed to play with it, so it is what it is,” Quinn said.
“The suspension is not as good as I’d like it – I’m not whinging, but just saying it could be better. We weren’t pushing hard at all today – it might be a different story by day three or four.”
In the Classic Handicap event, Peter Ullrich, in a 1963 Jensen CV8 leads Victorian Andrew White’s 1961 Volvo 122S by six seconds with Paul Freestone’s 1960 Aston Martin DB4 Classic, another second back.
Matthew Cardinaels’ 1972 Datsun 240Z has a two second buffer over Peter Nunn in his 1985 Porsche 944 Turbo.
In the other competitions, Simon Cilento leads Modern in a 2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S, Alan Roe leads Early Modern in his 2000 Mitsubishi Evolution 6.5 RS, and Jeff Beable holds a slender buffer in Sports GT.
After a relatively easy opening day, the real challenge will come tomorrow, with 68.88 competitive kilometres across seven competitive stages.
VIDEO: Targa Day 1 wrap
Results after Day 1 of Targa Tasmania (provisional)
Wrest Point GT2
1. Matt Close/Cameron Reeves, 2015 Porsche GT
2. Michael Pritchard/Gary Mourant, 2016 Dodge Viper ACR, +3s
3. Toby Gill/Mathew Rickards, 2016 HSV GTS, +13s
1. Peter Ullrich/Sari Ullrich, 1963 Jensen CV8
2. Andrew White/Ashley Yelds, 1961 Volvo 122S, +6s
3. Paul Freestone/Christine Freestone, 1960 Aston Martin DB4 Classic, +7s
Country Club GT4
=1. Joshua Hilton/Rodney Vanderpoel, 2008 Nissan GT-R R35 GT4
=1. Adam Spence/ Ross Hynd, 2011 Nissan GT-R R35 GT4
3. David Ayers/Stuart Benson, 2011 GT-R GT4, +2s
Shannons Classic GT
1. Matthew Cardinaels/Jason Page, 1972 Datsun 240Z
2. Peter Nunn/Keith Johnstone, 1985 Porsche 944 Turbo, +2s
3. Kim Barwick/Damien Grimwood, 1984 Holden VK Group C, +6s
Spirit of Tasmania and Dutton Garage Early Modern
1. Alan Roe/Michael Lloyd, 2000 Mitsubishi Evolution 6.5 RS
2. Stephen Thatcher/Kelly Handley, 1995 Nissan ATTKD Select R SP, +5s
3. Liam Howarth/Larry Howarth, 1995 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec, +7s
RDA Brakes Modern
1. Simon Cilento/Karinne Cilento, 2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S
=2.Kerry Luck/Adam Colgrave, 2004 Porsche 911 GT3, +4s
=2.Roderick Neville/Myles Neville, 2004 Mitsubishi Evolution VIII, +4s
=2.Gregory Burrowes/Rhonda Burrowes, 2009 Mitsubishi Evolution X, +4s
1. Wayne Clark/Trevor Berriman, 1938 Dodge Speedster Special
Budget GT Sports Trophy
1. Jeff Beable/Nerida Beable, 2000 Nissan Skyline GT-R N1
2. Jordan Bridge/Debbie Bridge, 2004 Subaru WRX STi, +19s
3. Martin Duursma/Richard Wodhams, 2013 Lotus Exige S V6, +20s
Budget TSD Trophy
1. Brian Marshall/Justin Marshall, 2011 Volkswagen Polo GTI, 14pts
2. Gerard Knapp/Roger Campbell, 2005 Alfa Romeo GT, 17pts
=3. Darryl Marshall/Andrew Marshall, 2002 Ford Falcon Ute Pursuit 250, 18pts
=3. Alan Gluyas/Heather Gluyas, 2012 Toyota 86 GTS, 18pts