Weather causes havoc at Targa Tasmania Pre-event favourite Jason White produced a superb drive in horrendous conditions to take a strong lead into day two of Targa Tasmania. While wet and windy weather lashed the north of the state, White ...
Weather causes havoc at Targa Tasmania
Pre-event favourite Jason White produced a superb drive in horrendous conditions to take a strong lead into day two of Targa Tasmania.
While wet and windy weather lashed the north of the state, White powered on in his Labourghini Gallargo Super Trofeo Strada, recovering from a slow start to end the day eight seconds clear of 2008 winner, Steve Glenney, driving a Mazda RX8.
Reigning champion, Rex Broadbent, used all of his experience and guile to finish the opening eight stages as the fastest Classic car, while Tasmanian Tony Warren was again the pace setter in the Showroom division.
White knows that with four days to go he will face many challenges, but none that will come close to the morning stages on the opening day.
"The Holwell stage was absolutely atrocious," White explained.
"We were sitting at the start line and just as we went to start the stage a massive squall came through and the car was actually shaking from side to side because of the wind.
"Just after we took off the heater stopped working and the windscreen completely fogged up and all I had was a tiny little gap to see through to drive the stage.
"But as soon as the weather cleared up on the next couple of stages we started to make amends for it and we had a great run through Mersey Lea and grabbed the lead."
Glenney was also highly impressive in his two-wheel drive car against the four-wheel drive Lamborghini.
"We've had sheets of rain, poor vision, oil on the road and very slippery conditions, so weve just been trying to tune the car as we go.
"The Mazda is responding really well - it's a different car to last year when it was basically just a showroom car. It's been properly prepared this year and it's going really well. There's still a long way to go, but it feels good."
2009 winner, Tony Quinn, sits in third place, and while he is 30 seconds from the lead, he is well aware that there is still a very long way still to go.
West Australian Steve Jones is two seconds further back in fourth place, also driving a Nissan GT-R, while Dean Herridge and Ray Vandersee are equal in fifth place.
As expected, the Classic battle was tightly fought, with Rex Broadbent holding sway at the end of a tough day.
Surprisingly, one of the pre-event favourites, NSW driver Bill Pye, crashed his Porsche on the penultimate stage, leaving Broadbent with a narrow 12 second lead over a Paul Batten in a 1961 Volvo PV544.
"The weather conditions were terrible for the first two or three stages. People were crashing because they couldnt see and it was so slippery," Broadbent said.
"But I'm in it, and I'm having fun, but I dont think I've been quite so scared in a car for a long time. Those stages this morning were scary."
Batten perhaps produced the drive of the day in the ageing Volvo, and he sits 18 seconds clear of Jon Siddins in third place, driving a 1970 Datsun 240Z. Batten also leads the Classic handicap event after his impressive drive in the wet.
After setting the pace in yesterday's Temco Prologue, Tony Warren was again the man to catch in his Showroom competition Lancer Evo IX. He finished the day 28 seconds clear of the new Lancer Evo X of Dean Evans, while in third place sits the front-wheel drive Mazda3 MPS of Brendan Reeves.
Leg 2 of Targa Tasmania takes competitors west of Launceston over eight Targa stages, including one of the event's most famous stages, 'The Sideling'.
At just under 14 kilometres in length, the stage begins the day in what many competitors hope will be fine conditions. Crews return back to the event base at the Launceston Silverdome at around 5pm.
-source: targa tasmania