Jason White leads the GT2 category of 25th running of Targa Tasmania after an enthralling day of competition, which saw the lead swap on more than one occasion.
Driving a Dodge Viper ACR Extreme, White finished the day just six seconds clear of Matt Close and Cameron Reeves in a Porsche GT3.
The third day of the event was the longest of the rally, with eight stages over a total distance of 138km, including two stages over 35km in length.
Matt Close had led the field after day two, but with longer stages in front of him, White made his move, hinting that the battle for the lead could go right down to the wire on the final day on Saturday.
“We’re feeling more comfortable in the car each day and trying not to extract too much from it to the detriment of the tyres,” White said.
“We’re going to try some unorthodox suspension adjustments and alignment settings tonight, which we think will prolong the life of the front tyres in particular.
“We’re fairly confident the changes we’re going to make will allow the tyres to make it to the end.”
Craig Dean lies in third place in his Ford Mustang Shelby GT, nearly five minutes from the lead, however, he and his Italian-born American co-driver, Alex Gelsomino, are keeping their eyes firmly on their rear vision mirror with Michael Pritchard’s Dodge Viper just 17 seconds in arrears.
Seven-times Targa Tasmania winners, Jim Richards and Barry Oliver, are in fifth place in their Porsche GT4.
It has been a similarly tight tussle for the lead in the GT4 category for Showroom 4WD cars, with former Targa winner Steve Glenney taking the lead on the final stage of the day in his Subaru WRX STi.
Ben Manion (Subaru WRX STi) led the field after day two, but he has slipped back to second, 24 seconds behind Glenney, and 13 seconds ahead of the Lamborghini Huracan of Tony Quinn.
For the first two days of the event, Glenney called the pacenotes for driver Ben Newman, but switched to the driver’s seat on day three and set an astonishing pace that has put them into the lead.
Classic handicap leader, Peter Ullrich, was relieved to get to the end of the day still in the lead.
There has been plenty of change in the Classic GT battle, with overnight leader Matthew Cardinaels crashing out in his Datsun 240Z, handing the lead to the similar car of Jon Siddins. The Queenslander now has a comfortable advantage of nearly four minutes over Kim Barwick’s Holden Commodore.
In other competitions, Andrew Bollom (Mazda RX7 SP) leads Early Modern, Chris Crowe (Holden HSV Coupe 4) leads Modern after long-time leader Roderick Neville stopped on the final stage of the day, and the Nissan Skyline GT-R of Jeff Beable is four minutes clear of the pack in GT Sports Trophy.
Wayne Clark’s 1938 Dodge Speedster Special leads the Vintage class ahead of Graham Copeland’s 1936 Desoto Special.
On day four, competitors head down the west coast of Tasmania for a further seven stages totalling 91.87km. The longest stage of the day is the popular Hellyer Gorge test at 20.46km.
Targa crews will overnight in the tourist town of Strahan.
VIDEO: Day 3 wrap
Results after Day 3 of Targa Tasmania (provisional)
Wrest Point GT2
1. Jason White/John White, 2016 Dodge Viper ACR Extreme
2. Matt Close/Cameron Reeves, 2015 Porsche GT3, +6s
3. Craig Dean/Alessandro Gelsomino, 2015 Ford Mustang Shelby GT, +4m59s
1. Peter Ullrich/Sari Ullrich, 1963 Jensen CV8
2. Leigh Achterberg/Greg Fitzgerald, 1982 Porsche 944, + 1m11s
3. Paul Freestone/Christine Freestone, 1960 Aston Martin DB4, +2m55s
Country Club GT4
1. Steve Glenney/Tim Kulhanek, 2008 Subaru STI
2. Ben Manion/Aleshia Penney, 2010 Subaru WRX STI Spec C, +24s
2. Tony Quinn/Naomi Tillett, 2014 Lamborghini Huracan, +37s
Shannons Classic GT
1. Jon Siddins/Gina Siddins, 1970 Datsun 240Z,
2. Kim Barwick/Damien Grimwood, 1984 Holden VK Group C, +3m43s
3. Barry Faux/Thereza Mihajlovic, 1985 Mazda RX-7, +4m47s
Spirit of Tasmania and Duttons Garage Early Modern
1. Andrew Bollom/Lee Challoner-Miles, 1995 Mazda RX-7
2. Mark Balcombe/Brian Foster, 1995 Mazda RX-7 SP, + 17s
3. Stephen Thatcher/Kelly Handley, 1994 Nissan ATTKD Select R SP, +45s
RDA Brakes Modern
1. Chris Crowe/Gavin Smith, 2004 HSV Coupe 4,
2. Brendan Winterbourn/Anthony Chudleigh, 2011 Mitsubishi Evolution X, +41s
3. Gregory Burrowes/Rhonda Burrowes, 2009 Mitsubishi Evolution X, +1m32s
1. Wayne Clark/Trevor Berriman, 1938 Dodge Speedster Special
2. Graham Copeland/Josh Herbert, 1936 Desoto Special, +1hr44m48s
Budget GT Sports Trophy
1. Jeff Beable/Nerida Beable, 2000 Nissan Skyline GT-R N1
2. Jordan Bridge/Debbie Bridge, 2004 Subaru WRX STi, +3m59s
3. Martin Duursma/Richard Wodhams, 2013 Lotus Exige S V6, + 4m53s
Budget TSD Trophy
1. Gerard Knapp/Roger Campbell, 2005 Alfa Romeo GT, 64pts
2. Brian Marshall/Justin Marshall, 2011 Volkswagen Polo GTI, 67pts
3. Darryl Marshall/Andrew Marshall, 2002 Ford Falcon Ute Pursuit 250, 70pts