Local hope Jason White has secured his second Targa Tasmania title in three years, taking his Lamborghini Gallardo to victory in Hobart this afternoon.
The win has given White and co-driver – uncle John White – a clean sweep of the CAMS Australian Targa Championship, the pair having already won Targa High Country in Victoria and Targa Wrest Point earlier this series.
White had electrical problems early on the run from Strahan to Queenstown, losing 30 seconds and creating some drama on the final morning. But with that problem fixed he charged across the event’s longest stage, the 51km Mt Arrowsmith, to take 50 seconds from his rivals and re-establish his buffer.
It was then a matter of nursing his Lamborghini home across the final three stages to the finish two minutes and 27 seconds clear of 2011 winner, Tony Quinn, in his Nissan GT-R.
Eight-time Targa Tasmania winner, Jim Richards, was back on the podium in third, a reward for setting consistent times in his Porsche 911 GT2 RS while others faltered.
Classic Outright leader Rex Broadbent survived a scare on Mt Arrowsmith as well when he finished up in a gutter. Fortunately, his co-driver, Chris Randell, was able to push him back onto the road, minimising the time loss to a minute.
But in the end the Targa veteran cruised to victory in Classic Outright, his 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera securing a sixth straight title having led the field across the entire five days of competition.
Second was Jon Siddins in his 1970 Datsun 240Z, who put up a dogged fight with Broadbent, finishing just one minute, two seconds behind.
Simon Evans, with co-driver wife Sue, cruised to top Showroom honours in their Mazda3 MPS by 20 minutes and the four-time Australian Rally Champions added their first Targa Championship prize to the family trophy cabinet.
The Whites were thrilled with their event, despite the scare early on the last day.
“This is definitely the toughest Targa we’ve ever done,” White said.
“We had a mis-fire through Strahan and it was a bit un-nerving because we dropped a bit of time, but we thought it was more than it actually was.”
“So when we got to Mount Arrowsmith, we decided to go for broke. It was a pretty exciting stage and to get to the end and realise we’d cleaned it and pulled back 52 seconds got us back into our comfort zone. I think it was a record through Arrowsmith.
“This is a really satisfying win because we’ve put a massive amount of work into this event with the course changes. Losing this year was not an option for us. We wanted to win at all costs."
Broadbent has become the dominant classic driver of this era and was pleased to extend his record.
“I’m thrilled to win it – six in row is great.”
“It’s been undoubtedly the most difficult Targa that I’ve ever been in, absolutely exhausting.
“Targa is a challenge – every single one. Every time you enter, your past record in the event means nothing. There would be no guarantees if I came back next year that I’d even get in the top 10 – it’s that difficult now.”
In the handicap events, Jon Siddins pipped Northern Territory driver Andrew White by one second to be top in Early Classic, Drew Kent won Classic Florio and Broadbent added a second title with Late Classic honours. John Ireland scored points in three of the four Targas to secure the Late Classic championship.
Queenslander Donn Todd secured the Classic Outright and Early Classic championship titles despite a troubled time in Tasmania.
Burnie driver Jamie Vandenberg finished just 16 seconds ahead of Dean Evans in Showroom 4WD, both in a Mitsubishi Lancer. Evans’ result was enough to secure him the CAMS series win for his class.
Victorian Jeff Beable was quickest in Early Modern, while third placegetter Samantha Stevens-Lemish took the series top award for the class.
The Vintage cars remain crowd favourites. Wayne Clarke with Trevor Berriman, in their 1938 Dodge Speedster Special, were first of class home. Philip and David Frith were winners in Regularity with Bill Gill taking that championship class honour.
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