Champion ready for Targa series defence
- 21st August 2012, 11:48am
While he made it three wins from three starts last season, things didn’t always go to plan. At last year’s season opener for modern cars, Targa High Country in Victoria, as his Italian supercar caught fire on the final special stage.
Yet White managed to keep his cool and get the car across the finish holding onto first place, providing exciting video footage as he did so and a hefty repair bill for car owner and co-driver, his uncle, John White.
But from then on it was plain sailing, winning the final two events in Tasmania and claiming the title with his uncle, John, who calls the pacenotes.
“It was a good run, and it was mission accomplished, but it was down to a lot of hard work and I guess that puts more pressure on us for this season,” White said from his Devonport workshop.
“It’s a matter of keeping up the hard work and not getting too blasé about it, because one thing’s for sure, everyone else always goes away and works harder at it.
“I don’t know where it ends, but the pace still seems to find a way of increasing at each event, even though you think you’ve reached your limit.
“You get to the next event and someone’s always going quicker.”
This will be the first time that White has competed on the closed road tarmac stages in the Adelaide Hills, and he sees this as giving the initial advantage to local driver, Matt Sims.
“Matt will be a big challenger after a pretty bad run mechanically at Targa Tasmania, but he just hosed them at the recent Adelaide Hills Rally on home turf, so I think he’ll be the biggest threat.
“Tony Quinn did the classic event in Adelaide last year and will have a bit of an advantage over us in that regard, but then he’s also had some mechanical issues with his Nissan GT-R. But if he’s sorted out the gremlins we all know that his car is fast enough to be doing the job.”
But it’s Sims who the reigning champion sees as his biggest threat over the 29 stages and 235 competitive kilometres.
“Sims could have a huge advantage, given that he’s on home ground and that the stages are all relatively close to Adelaide. It means that doing your pre-event reconnaissance is a lot easier for the locals, and certainly easier than it is for us in Tassie.”
Others who will challenge the Tasmanian include fellow Lamborghini driver, Kevin Weeks, and former Targa Tasmania winner, Steve Glenney, both of whom boast local knowledge.
Nevertheless, White is determined to push hard for victory, rather than putting in a steady performance and collecting valuable championship points in the first round.
“I think if I said to Uncle John that we’re going to drive to finish third, he’d give me a back-hander,” he laughs. “You try and do the best you can to win, and we’ll certainly be giving it our best shot – there’ll be no floundering around, that’s for sure.”
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