Targa Tasmania has got off to a flying start with 276 cars setting a hot pace around the streets of George Town in the official Tempco Prologue stage.

Leading the way in the drivetravel.com Modern section was Matt Close with his wife Casey in the co-driver’s seat of their Porsche 911 Turbo. The pair set a blistering pace across the 4.81 kilometre stage to finish 0.61 seconds clear of Allan Simonsen, driving the Les Walkden Rallying-prepared Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.

Eight-time Targa champion, Jim Richards, in his Porsche 911 GT3, was in third place a further 1.81 seconds back.

Leading Tasmanian contender, Jason White, had his Lamborghini in ninth place, 4.08 seconds off the lead, but happy to be out on the track after a fire caused by oil on the exhaust spoiled their preparation yesterday.

Leading the way in the Outright Shannons Classic competition was Adam Kaplan, with his co-driver, brother David, in a 1988 Giocattolo Group B. They finished the tarmac test in a time of 3 minutes 21.21.

In second place, 0.63 seconds back, was the crowd-pleasing Steve Coad in a 1972 Holden Monaro GTS, with Gavin James, driving a 1989 Porsche 944 S2, third, another 2.54 seconds back.

Of the pre-event favourites, Rex Broadbent was back in fifth place, David Pye sixth and local hope Peter O’Keefe seventh.

Hollywood star, Eric Bana, was a huge hit with the crowd, but was well back, posting the 57th fastest time among the Classic entries in his Falcon XB Coupe.

Adam Kaplan, in his 12th Targa Tasmania, was delighted with his opening performance.

“The car felt awesome,” Kaplan said. “If the weather holds we are confident of remaining in the top order.”

Matt Close, competing in his 4th Targa, his third in his Porsche 911 Turbo, was taking the stage win in his stride.

“We’re not letting it got to our heads, it’s the first part of a vary long race, we’ll be happy to settle down and our dream result would be a top ten finish”

“Anytime you ahead you ahead of professionals you’ve got to be surprised.”

Top 10 results – Shannons Classic - Provisional

POS, NO, Crew, Vehicle, Time
1, 717, Kaplan/Kaplan, Giocattolo Group B, 03:21.21
2, 513, Coad/Vandenburg, Holden Monaro GTS, 03:21.84
3, 736, James/Mcleod, Porsche 944 S2, 03:24.38
4, 613, Barwick/Walker, Holden Torana A9X, 03:25.00
5, 577, Broadbent/Goadheer, Porsche 911 RS, 03:25.30
6, 631, Pye/Geelan, Porsche 911 Carrera 3, 03:25.48
7, 636, O’Keefe/Winton-Monet, Holden Torana SLR 5000, 03:25.94
8, 718, Morton/McDonald, Porsche 944 Turbo, 03:26.58
9, 573, Eames/Eames, Holden Torana A9X, 03:29.58
10, 611, Todd/Tighe, Holden Torana A9X, 03:31.91

Top 10 results – drivetravel.com Modern - Provisional

Pos, No, Crew, Vehicle, Total
1, 913, Close/Close, Porsche 911 Turbo, 03:15.34
2, 902, Simonsen/Searcy, Mitsubishi Evolution Lancer IX, 03:15.95
3, 919, Richards/Oliver, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, 03:17.76
4, 953, Heskin/Deniese, Mitsubishi Evolution Lancer IX RS, 03:18.39
5, 991, Weeks/Allen, Lamborghini Super Leggera, 03:18.47
6, 940, Higgins/Hansen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, 03:18.55
7, 939, Warwick/Murphy, Porsche 911 GT3, 03:18.95
8, 996, Quinn/Wenn, Porsche 997 Turbo, 03:19.19
9, 934, White/White, Lamborghini Super Leggera, 03:19.42
10, 972, Vandersee/Taylor, Skelta G-Force, 03:20.28

MORE NICK MOREY PHOTOS HERE

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