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Leaders make their mark at Targa High Country

Matt Close continues to lead Targa High Country. Photo: Angryman Photography

Matt Close and Cameron Reeves, driving a Porsche GT3 RS, have extended their overall lead on day two of Targa High Country in north east Victoria.

The pair won five of the day’s six stages, finishing nearly two minutes clear of the Nissan GTR of Angus Kennard and Ian Wheeler.

Outright third place is held down by the Ford Mustang of Craig Dean and Anthony Carr, a further 37 seconds behind Kennard.

Temperatures reached 30 degrees on the run from Mount Buller to Whitfield, and back to Mansfield, however, short stages meant that there was little change to the overall standings.

Close’s unblemished run so far also sees him leading the Mt Buller GT2 competition by two and a half minutes from Dean, with Pete Nunn third in a Porsche GTS.

“We’re just trying to keep in the groove and do what we need to do to stay in front,” Close said.

“It’s actually a bit weird for us because we usually have a couple of Dodge Vipers breathing down our necks by this stage of the event.

“We’ll keep pushing along tomorrow and looking after the tyres on the long stages, and then hopefully have a big push up Mount Buller in the afternoon and perhaps try and lower the stage record again.”

Motorsport legend, Jim Richards, continued his good form and lies in sixth place. While his days of challenging for the outright win may be behind him, Richards is still more than capable of mixing it with the front runners.

Angus Kennard is dominating the RDA Brakes GT4 class with a one minute 48 second lead over Paul Dowie in an Audi TT RS Plus, but Dowie is just nine seconds clear of Josh Hilton’s Nissan GTR as the push for second place intensifies.

Angus Kennard controls the GT4 class in his Nissan GTR. Photo: Angryman Photography

A brilliant drive from Lindsay Stone and Simon Martin sees them nearly a minute and a half in front in Shannons Classic.

Stone’s Mazda RX7 leads Richard Woodward’s Holden Monaro GTS and Peter Gluskie’s BMW 325i.

“It’s all going superbly and we’ve had no real issues at all,” Queenslander Stone said.

“We need to be a little bit mindful that tomorrow’s stages are a lot longer and that we need to be cautious and look after the tyres and brakes.

“But if everything holds together we should be in a good position tomorrow afternoon.”

Even more dominant in the Shannons Classic GT competition are WA’s Michael and Daniel Bray, who now lead by nearly four minutes in their Holden Torana.

Another Torana, driven by John Bourke, lies second, well clear of Roger Lomman’s Datsun 240Z.

Adam Kaplan continues to be well clear in Duttons Garage Early Modern in his BMW M3, and is now over a minute clear of Ben Calder’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, with Liam Howarth’s Nissan Skyline in third place.

It’s been a tight battle in the Mansfield Shire GT Sports competition, with Martin Duursma (Lotus Exige S) just 11 seconds clear of the similar car of Mark Meletopoulo, with Alan Gluyas’ Renault Megane a further 10 seconds in arrears.

The TSD Trophy competition, run to an average speed, is being led by Peter and Tristan Taylor in a Lotus Exige, but only three points ahead of Brian Pereira’s Lotus, with Chris Waldock and his Jaguar F-Type in third place.

The final day of Targa High Country is the longest of the event, with the 49 kilometre Jamieson stage expected to be influential in the final results. The return run over the stage is the penultimate test, before the final run up Mount Buller tomorrow afternoon.

The event finishes with a podium finish on Mount Buller from 4pm.

Peter has been the editor of RallySport Magazine since its inception in 1989, in both printed and online form. He is a long-time competitor, event organiser and official, as well as working in the media.

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