Glenney still leads Targa Tasmania
- 18th April 2008, 7:44pm
South Australian Steve Glenney has held his challengers at bay on day three of Targa Tasmania, and holds a comfortable 37 second buffer with two days remaining.
Glenney took a 40 second lead into the day over Jim Richards’ Porsche 911 GT2, and while the margin has narrowed slightly, he still has a commanding break and is now clearly the man to beat.
Another South Australian, Kevin Weeks, driving a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, has moved up to second place after the eight stages around Tasmania's North West. Richards slipped one place, but is just two seconds further back and very much in the play as Targa heads west to its next stop in Strahan.
Fine and dry conditions have helped to ensure that the leading competitors in Targa Tasmania enjoyed a drama free day today.
Rex Broadbent, driving his 1974 Porsche 911, increased his lead in the Classic Competition and is now nearly two minutes clear of the 1989 Porsche 944 of Gavin James, while Peter Eames dropped valuable time on the day’s second stage after spinning his 1974 Porsche 911.
Mazda's domination of the Showroom 2WD class continued with Rick Bates and Alister McRae showing a clean pair of heels in their Mazda3 MPSs. Their nearest rival, Toyota's Simon Evans, is over five minutes from the lead as he takes a series of celebrity co-drivers around the state.
It's a similar story in the Showroom 4WD class, where Hobart's Tony Warren heads into day four with a lead of three minutes and 40 seconds over Scott Millar. Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IXs make up the leaderboard, with Malcolm Klopp in third place.
The field headed west from Launceston to Devonport and back today, covering 56km of competitive driving over eight Targa Stages.
Modern leader Glenney's only problem for the day came when he couldn't locate his service crew prior to the final stage of the day. Fortunately for the rally leader, his crew eventually made it to the refuel point, and he arrived at the final stage of the day with seconds to spare.
"We've been able clean three stages of the last four stages, so we haven't lost too much time," Glenney said. "We should go the distance - we've been managing our tyres and they should be right for the rest of the event."
Weeks was the pacesetter for much of the setting a number of fastest times, allowing him to take ten seconds off Richards.
"We've been trying to find a good set-up for the car since we got here and it looks like we've found the sweet spot," Weeks admitted. "Going into Longford yesterday we changed the suspension and it worked extremely well on the street circuit, so we left it (the suspension) in overnight and it's just been brilliant. The car is now allowing me to get good times."
Targa legends Richards and co-driver Barry Oliver, despite being 37 seconds from the lead, haven't given up hope of victory just yet.
"Tomorrow's a really long day and we'll push as hard as possible on the 37km Cethana stage to see if we can pull some time back off Steve (Glenney)," co-driver Barry Oliver said after the day's stages. "Tomorrow's really the pivotal day of the rally - we need to be within striking distance at the end of the day, otherwise it will be very difficult to take another victory."
Tasmanian Jason White, also in a Lamborghini, is fourth while Dean Herridge is fifth in a Subaru Impreza WRX STI.
The leaders in the other categories all enjoy considerable leads, but with seven stages and 131.2 kilometres of competitive driving on Saturday, all will have to keep on the pace to maintain their advantages.
"Things are going really well and we're comfortable at this stage," Broadbent said. "I'm trying to look after the car, but having said all that, if it rains then the Porsche 944 behind us is a beautifully balanced car, and is running on soft compound tyres, so that could be a real double whammy if it gets wet."
"I'm looking forward to the Cethana and Riana stages tomorrow, and while I'm confident I can maintain, or perhaps even increase the lead over the next two days, as I always say, 'winning is incidental, I'm here for a good time'," he said.
Both leaders in the Showroom categories have made excellent use of their cars' reliability over today's testing stages. Rick Bates was again the pick of the drivers in the 2WD class, out-gunning his more fancied team-mate, Alister McRae.
Third placed Simon Evans, the 2006 and 2007 Australian Rally Champion, had a competition winner calling the pacenotes today, and will have television personality Kerri-Anne Kennerley in the left-hand seat for tomorrow's gruelling stages.
Tony Warren has again shown his total dominance of the 4WD class, and with a huge advantage over Scott Millar and Malcolm Klopp, he looks odds-on to take out the inaugural class title.
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