STOKELL CRASHES -- LOCALS TAKE LEAD IN TARGA TASMANIA RALLY An off-road excursion on today's Cygnet stage, near Hobart, dropped Lamborghini driver Paul Stokell out of contention in this year's Targa Tasmania tarmac rally, with local...
STOKELL CRASHES -- LOCALS TAKE LEAD IN TARGA TASMANIA RALLY
An off-road excursion on today's Cygnet stage, near Hobart, dropped Lamborghini driver Paul Stokell out of contention in this year's Targa Tasmania tarmac rally, with local hopefuls Jason White taking up their position in the top spot.
The dual Nations Cup champion damaged the front left hand corner of his Lamborghini Gallardo, when he lost control on a corner in today's third leg of the 2,100km rally in the southern region of Tasmania.
Stokell was leading by 23-secs coming into the third leg, when damp road conditions forced the powerful 500bhp Gallardo off the road 2.75km into the 9.9km long stage, sending it drifting at speed into a bank on the opposite side.
"If it was on a track there would be no dramas at all, but I had nowhere to go and we hit the bank and spun and that was the end of our race," said Stokell.
"It was a combination of driver error and conditions. I didn't think we were pushing that hard, but it was very slippery on that stage and I think it was just one of those occasions when you get caught out."
With Stokell out of contention, Tasmanian Nissan team John and Jason White will go into the fourth leg of competition with a 27-second lead over Queensland Porsche driver Tony Quinn, who is followed by Jim Richards, 16-seconds behind, also in a Porsche.
One minute behind Richards is local Porsche driver Greg Garwood in fourth position, and rounding out the top five is former Sydney to Hobart champion yachtsman Warwick Rooklyn, in a Mitsubishi Evolution Lancer.
At the start of the third leg, the Whites were tailing in fourth but were consistently faster than Richards pushing them up to second place behind Stokell on the third stage of the day. Stokell's crash then cleared the way for the Whites to take first position.
White is aware of his opponent's ability to perform well in the wet, and prays for rain to ensure minimal wear on his Nissan's tyres.
"We're delighted to be back in the lead again," said White. "Today was good, we had a great day on the wet stages but we lost time again on the dry ones. We've been giving our tyres a hiding, so we're hoping for more rain. If it stays dry, we'll be in trouble and Jim (Richards) and Tony Quinn will come and get us."
Richards, currently in third position, says he favours wet weather but will find variable weather conditions a challenge.
"This year's Porsche is a little bit better in the wet than last year's, but it will never be as good as the four-wheel-drives," said Richards. "Even if it stays dry, we will still be hard pressed to win as some of the other cars have a better power to weight ratio."
With his Subaru Impreza WRX Sti performing well on damp roads, V8 Supercar star Tony Longhurst secured the tenth spot at the end of Day Three in the drivetravel.com Modern Competition.
"The wet sections were fantastic, we were really humming along," said Longhurst. It is tough when the stages are wet and then dry, but the car is right in its element when it's wet and sliding around. We want it to rain from now until Sunday night."
Picking up pace in the field is Stokell's Lamborghini team mate Stuart Appleby who has moved up four spots since the start of today's competition, to take 19th position today, also in a Gallardo.
"The conditions have been eye-popping, it was a little erratic today so I've got to work on being smoother," said Appleby. "There's no such thing as a free lunch here - you have to work hard for results."
Bill Pye and Grant Geelan have maintained their leading position in the Shannons Classic Competition in their 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera, 12-seconds behind Michael Conway in their 1977 Ford Escort and charging up the field from eight position to third is last year's Classic Winner Nick Ellis also in a Ford Escort.
In third position leading into today's Classic Competition was Martin Utber and his navigator Kevin Clarence who were forced out of contention after experiencing mechanical problems three stages in.
A number of competitors found the damp road conditions a challenge today, with several small incidents knocking four competitors out of the Tasmanian rally.
Tomorrow's fourth and penultimate leg starts in Hobart, taking the competition field up the state's midlands and finishing in Burnie over 110.29 competitive kilometres.
<pre> PROVISIONAL END OF DAY RESULTS
DRIVETRAVEL.COM MODERN COMPETITION
POS CREWS MODEL PENALTY TIME 1 John White, TAS, Jason White, TAS Nissan Skyline GT-R V-spec II 00:07:34 2 Tony Quinn, QLD, Keith Wenn, QLD Porsche 911 Turbo 00:08:01 3 Jim Richards, VIC, Barry Oliver, TAS Porsche 911 GT3 CS 00:08:17 4 Greg Garwood, TAS, John Allen, QLD Porsche 911 Turbo 00:09:17 5 Warwick Rooklyn, NSW, Linda Long, NSW Mitsubishi Evolution Lancer VII 00:10:16 6 Kevin Weeks,SA, Jahmeil Taylor SA Porsche 911 GT2 00:12:10 7 Rex Broadbent, VIC, Michael Goedheer, VIC Daytona Coupe 00:12:33 8 Scott Juniper,QLD, Dan Bowden, QLD Porsche 911 Turbo 00:12:43 9 Jeff Beable, VIC, Nerida Beable, VIC Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II 00:13:14 10 Tony Longhurst, NSW, Michael De Vere, QLD Subaru Impreza WRX Sti 00:13:50
SHANNONS CLASSIC COMPETITION
POS CREWS MODEL PENALTY TIME 1 Bill Pye,NSW, Grant Geelan,NSW Porsche 911 Carrera 00:08:22 2 Michael Conway,VIC, Simon Gardiner,VIC Ford Escort MK2 RS2000 00:08:34 3 Nick Ellis, VIC, Sarah Grimshaw, VIC Ford Escort RS2000 00:10:32 4 Ian Morris, VIC, Alex Molocznyk, QLD Alfa Romeo GTV6 00:10:50 5 Graham Copeland, QLD, Jon Siddins, QLD Datsun 240Z 00:10:52