Targa Tasmania leg one report

TARGA TASMANIA TARMAC RALLY -- Wednesday, April 17 Leg 1 Report: Launceston to Launceston, 8 stages (63.85km competitive) White sweats on derived time application in Targa. Devonport's Jason White, rated by Jim Richards as the main threat to...

TARGA TASMANIA TARMAC RALLY -- Wednesday, April 17
Leg 1 Report: Launceston to Launceston, 8 stages (63.85km competitive)

White sweats on derived time application in Targa.

Devonport's Jason White, rated by Jim Richards as the main threat to his domination of the Targa Tasmania tarmac rally, is sweating on the result of an application for derived time to determine whether he remains in contention for major honours in this year's event.

After today's dramatic eight-stage opening leg across the north of Tasmania, White was officially classified with an overall penalty time of 3-hrs 37-mins in his turbo Mitsubishi Evo VII. The penalty time was imposed after he made a fuel stop in Deloraine and was passed by the Sweep Vehicle before starting the Quamby Brook stage.

However, the 29-year-old said tonight he had lodged an application to the Clerk of Course for a derived time for the stage that was closed before he arrived. White claims that if his appeal is successful his overall penalty time could be reduced to 37-secs, which would leave him in fifth position and within striking distance of Richards who leads with a penalty of 6-secs in his turbo Porsche 911.

"We're confident our application will be successful," said White. "Before Quamby Brook we made a quick fuel stop and the Sweep Car came past without us knowing about it. We were surprised when we got to the start (of Quamby Brook) and the stage was already closed."

Clerk of Course Tom Snooks said tonight that a decision on White's application was expected to be made within 24 hours.

White, who was fourth in yesterday's 4.7km Temco Prologue, had earlier been successful with an application for derived time for the Moriarty stage.

Richards was pleased with the performance of his Porsche, and remains on target to add to his record five Targa wins in this year's 1,977km event, which continues until Sunday.

"We had no problems, apart from dropping a few seconds in the afternoon," said the 54-year-old Melbourne-based New Zealander. "So far the tyres are holding up and I think we're looking good."

South Australia's Steve Glenney and NSW's Peter Moore, both driving Nissan Skyline GT-R machines, were next beat behind Richards, with rally ace Rick Bates fourth in a Mazda RX-7 SP, and 2001 Targa runner-up Tony Quinn fifth in a Porsche 911. Multiple Bathurst 1000 winner Peter Brock is seventh in a V8 Holden Monaro, while team-mate Steven Richards is 14th in his Targa debut.

The Volkswagen Beetle being driven by Tasmania's three-times Gold Star winner Paul Stokell is now in the Demonstration Class, alongside the Lexus IS200 of triple Australian rally champion Neal Bates, and ineligible for inclusion in official results. Targa Chief Technical Officer Ken Price said the Beetle was missing body support panels and interior trim components.

The most spectacular incident of the opening leg involved the Classic Competition 1980 Ford Escort of Melbourne-based Nicholas Ellis and Paula Pritchard. The car rolled on the High Plains stage, and caught fire, but Ellis and Pritchard escaped injury.

"We came around the corner and hit something and it was all over," said Ellis.

The 1990 Mazda MX5 of Queensland combination of Frazer Manton and John Loth also rolled, in the Nook stage, but neither was injured.

Tomorrow's second leg comprises nine stages, starting at Launceston and finishing in Hobart with a total competitive distance of 75.40km.

-www.targa.org.au

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Series Other rally
Drivers Jason White , Jim Richards , Neal Bates , Rick Bates , Peter Brock , Paul Stokell , Steve Glenney , Steven Richards