AUS: Targa Tasmania leg one summary

A BATTLE FOR THE LEAD AT TARGA TASMANIA An outstanding battle between the three lead contenders in the five-day Targa Tasmania rally has set the scene for a thrilling event. Jim Richards in his Porsche 911 GT3 held the lead from Lamborghini...

A BATTLE FOR THE LEAD AT TARGA TASMANIA

An outstanding battle between the three lead contenders in the five-day Targa Tasmania rally has set the scene for a thrilling event. Jim Richards in his Porsche 911 GT3 held the lead from Lamborghini driver Paul Stokell and local Jason White but today's winner was never a forgone conclusion.

Local driver Jason White today gave Richards a run for his money early on taking out an early stage win in his Nissan Skyline GT-R and pushing both seasoned drivers Richards and Stokell hard over the day's eight stages.

At the end of the competition Richards led Stokell by 2-seconds with White just 6-seconds further back. It was an outstanding competition after the Devonport lunchbreak when the charge on the drivetravel.com Modern Competition began.

White, a local favourite, made his intentions clear from the outset driving hard and winning the short Nook stage after lunch, by four seconds from Richards.

"We're a little bit surprised to be where we are at this stage - I didn't think we would clean those stages and then to miss out on Nook by only one second was great," White said.

"We thought Jim (Richards) would be more of a threat than he was. We're extremely happy with our event at this stage."

Richards, a seven-time Targa Tasmania champion partnered by his Tasmanian navigator Barry Oliver, had no intention of making it easy for the Tasmanian, taking victory on the next stage, but he was obviously worried by White's pace.

"We lost time on Nook and Sheffield stages - we were just too slow compared to Jason (White)," Richards said.

White's speed also had Paul Stokell on his toes. The Lamborgini driver eased into the event finishing second, only two seconds behind leader Richards. A slight complication concerning the Gallardo's ABS brake system caused alarm early in the day, but was resolved during today's lunch break. Although not a good start for the dual Nations Cup champion, Stokell was philosophical none-the-less.

"We've had a couple of good stages and a couple of not so good ones. We lost quite a bit off the start line. It's hard to get away and we lost about four seconds off the line. Apart from that I'm pretty happy with the drive so far," Stokell said.

Fourth was Queenslander Tony Quinn in his Porsche 911 Turbo, finishing a further 23 seconds behind White and rounding out the top five was Warwick Rooklyn, from New South Wales, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, 7-seconds further back.

Celebrity Lamborghini driver and in-form Australian golfer Stuart Appleby, was delighted with his performance today finishing 30th in the field, also in a Lamborghini Gallardo.

"I am just trying to get my rhythm and getting used to the calls and reacting to them. It makes it much easier when we work as a team," Appleby said.

"The stages have been getting more complicated and difficult but I am developing my rhythm and improving our team work. We are happy with where we are and what we are doing and the car is going fantastic."

V8 Supercar driver Tony Longhurst approached his first serious run in his Subaru Impreza WRX, cautiously, keeping up the pace and finishing 17th in the Modern field.

"We're going well - I've been able to catch some of the Porsches. It's pretty tough though - it keeps you very busy," Longhurst said.

"The car's great though - it certainly does get up and go."

A number of competitors have found the going tough, with several having off-road excursions during the event's early stages. None of the competitors involved were injured.

Tomorrow's second leg comprises nine stages, starting in Launceston and finishing in Hobart with a total competitive distance of 72.86km.

UPDATE OF PROVISIONAL SCORES

Following an enquiry from several competitors, the Targa Tasmania Results Department conducted an investigation into the Provisional Scores for Day One of competition. During this investigation, there were several discrepancies found. Please see below amended top ten scores for the Targa Tasmania drivetravel.com Modern Competition.

<pre> PROVISIONAL RESULTS

POS CREW                                        MODEL                           TIME
1   John White, TAS, Jason White, TAS           Nissan Skyline GT-R V-spec II
2   Jim Richards, VIC, Barry Oliver, TAS        Porsche 911 GT3 CS              0:00:16
3   Tony Quinn, QLD, Keith Wenn, QLD            Porsche 911 Turbo               0:00:17
4   Paul Stokell, VIC, Peter Roberts, TAS       Lamborghini Gallardo            0:00:18
5   Warwick Rooklyn, NSW, Linda Long, NSW       Mitsubishi Evolution Lancer VII 0:00:24
6   Greg Garwood, TAS, John Allen, QLD          Porsche 911 Turbo               0:00:50
7   Ray Lintott, NSW, Fred Gocentas, Lithuania  Porsche 911 GT3 CS              0:01:05
7   Russell Kempnich,QLD, Greg McWhinney,QLD    Porsche 911 GT3                 0:01:05
7   Kevin Weeks,SA, Jahmeil Taylor SA           Porsche 911 GT2                 0:01:05
10  Scott Juniper,QLD, Dan Bowden, QLD          Porsche 911 Turbo               0:01:08

-www.targa.org

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers John Allen , Jason White , Jim Richards , Tony Longhurst , Tony Quinn , Paul Stokell , Ray Lintott , Fred Gocentas , Russell Kempnich