Queensland’s Tony Quinn has taken a narrow early lead at the 20th anniversary Targa Tasmania after an action-packed first day around Launceston.

Driving a 2009 Nissan GT-R, Quinn holds a slender five second lead over pre-event favourite, Jason White, with the Mazda of Steve Glenney in third place.

Tasmanian David Cooper was a surprise first day leader in the Classic Outright competition, opening up an impressive 18-second advantage over ex-Tasmanian and former touring car star Andrew Miedecke, while Mazda’s Brendan Reeves has taken a stranglehold on the Showroom class in his Mazda3 MPS.

Conditions were perfect on the first day of the event, but that didn’t stop many competitors pushing a little too hard and damaging their expensive machines. In particular, the Sheffield stage took its tool mid-way through the day with four cars all having an off within 100 metres of each other.

As expected, the battle for the lead for the Modern competition was intense, with White, Quinn and Glenney fighting it out.

“We’ve had a good first day, about as good as it gets,” Quinn said.

“You can’t really ask for better. The car’s going well, but I think everybody is having trouble with bumps and stuff on the roads, but we’ve been getting through it okay.”

White was happy with his first day, and admitted to pushing hard right from the outset.

“It’s been a pretty exciting first day,” White said.

“We had a couple of hairy scary moments down the other side of Sheffield. We might have dropped a little bit of time through there, but the rest of it has been pretty good.

“There’s been some good, enjoyable stages, and I’m pretty happy with the way it’s going so far. We’re pushing as hard as we can from the outset, so there’s no easing in to it - this is full speed.”

Debuting a new Porsche 911 GT2 RS, Richards eased his way into the day finishing fifth, but with a deficit of nearly 50 seconds to Quinn, he can ill afford to drop much further back if he intends to claim a ninth Targa crown.

In the Classics Cooper drove his 1977 Holden Torana A9X magnificently over the first eight stages, using his local knowledge to good effect, while some of the favourites were left behind.

Andrew Miedecke is sitting pretty in second in his Ford Capri Perana, ahead of a surprise third placed Len Cattlin, from Queensland.

The Porsche 911s of Victorians Peter Eames and Nic Ellis, and two-time World Rally Champion, Walter Rohrl, are equal fourth.

Rohrl is still one of the favourites to win the category, but his Porsche team were quick to point out that the German used the first day to settle into the event, with plenty of speed in reserve.

The winner of the past four Classic titles, Victorian Rex Broadbent, is another nine seconds back in seventh place.

The Mazda vs Skoda battle in the Showroom competition has gone the way of the Japanese manufacturer on the first day, as Brendan Reeves moved 46 seconds clear of Mike Sinclair’s Skoda.

“Our first day has been really good. We’ve got new brakes on for this rally and we’ve found some improvement there, and we’ve improved reliability,” Reeves commented.

The ACT pairing of Barry Faux and Therezia Mihajlovic lead the Late Classic handicap competition in their 1979 Mazda RX7, while Tasmanian Targa veterans Scott and Wayne Kent lead the way in the Early Classic section in a 1965 Ford Mustang.

Targa debutante, Blaise Paris, was surprised to be leading the Early Modern competition after the first day, admitting that he’s still learning the stages.

“We’re just tying to run our own race,” Paris said. “I’m surprised with the sort of times we’ve been putting in.

In the 4WD Showroom category, Hobart’s Tony Warren again proved to be the man to beat, with a 32 second lead after the first day.

He leads a horde of a Mitsubishi Lancers, with Scott Millar and Matthew Heskin in hot pursuit.

The clash of the Vintage cars is led by the 1938 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B Mille Miglia Spyder of John and Andrew Lawson, over two minutes ahead of Wayne Clark and Roger Richardson in a 1938 Dodge Speedster Special.

RESULTS – Day One 2011 Targa Tasmania (Provisional)

Pure Tasmania Modern Results after Day 1        
1. Tony Quinn (QLD) / Naomi Tillett (SA), 2009 Nissan GT-R   
2. Jason White (TAS) / John White (TAS), 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, +5 secs
3. Steve Glenney (SA) / Bernie Webb (ACT), 2010 Mazda RX8 SP, +29
4. Matthew Sims (SA) / Dennis Sims (SA), 2009 Nissan GT-R, +38
=5. Jim Richards (VIC) / Barry Oliver (TAS), 2011 Porsche GT2 RS, +48
=5. Dean Herridge (WA) / Ben Searcy (WA), 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +48

Shannons Classic Outright Results after Day 1        
1. David Cooper (TAS) / Jason Dann (TAS), 1977 Holden Torana A9X
2. Andrew Miedecke (NSW) / Daniel Willson (TAS), 1970 Ford Perana, +26
3. Len Cattlin (VIC) / Gayle Cattlin (VIC), 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302, +39
=4. Peter Eames (VIC) / Will Logan (TAS), 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS, +1:01
=4. Walter Roehrl (Bavaria) / Christian Geistdoerfer (Bavaria), 1981 Porsche 911 SC, +61
=4. Nicholas Ellis (VIC) / Travis Lacey (VIC), 1977 Porsche 911 Carrera 3, +61

Shannons Late Classic Handicap Results after Day 1        
1. David Cooper (TAS) / Jason Dann (TAS), 1977 Holden Torana A9X    
2. Peter Ullrich (NSW) / Sari Ullrich (NSW), 1963 Jensen CV8, +4
3. Barry Faux (ACT) / Therezia Mihajlovic (ACT), 1979 Mazda RX7, +6
4. Duane Rodgers (VIC) / Paul Rodgers (NZ), 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera, +11
5. Nicholas Ellis (VIC) / Travis Lacey (VIC), 1977 Porsche 911 Carrera,  +19

Shannons Early Classic Handicap Results after Day 1        
=1. Paul Freestone (VIC) / Christine Freestone (VIC), 1948 Holden
=1. Scott Kent (TAS) / Wayne Kent (TAS), 1965 Ford Mustang
3. Paul Batten (VIC) / Mike Batten (NSW), 1961 Volvo PV544 , +4
4. Andrew White (NT) / Ashley Yelds (USA), 1961 Volvo 122S, +14
5. Jack Waldron (VIC) / Vin Gregory (VIC), 1955 FIAT Abarth 750, +1:22

Pure Tasmania Early Modern Results after Day 1    
1. Blaise Paris (WA) / Raechel Krause (WA), 1999 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI
2. Ric Shaw (NSW) / James Parish (NSW), 2000 Mazda RX7, +9
3. Andrew Richmond (VIC) / Matt James-Wallace (WA) , 2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R V Spec II N1, +12
4. Paul Dowie (VIC) / Nicole Bryan (TAS), 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII, +27
=5. Matthew Rickards (TAS) / Raymond Tuttle (TAS), 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII RS, +42
=5. Richard Perini (NSW) / Chris Perini (NSW), 2000 Porsche 911 GT3, +42

Pure Tasmania Showroom Results after Day 1        
1. Brendan Reeves (VIC) / Rhianon Smyth (VIC), 2009 Mazda3 MPS
2. Michael Sinclair (VIC) / Bill Hayes (WA), 2009 Skoda Octavia RS, +42
3. Andrew Mckay (VIC) / Alex Hailstone (NSW), 2006 Mazda MX5, +2:35
4. Kelly Silverthorn (Canada) / Duane Bentley (Canada), 2007 Mazda MX5,     +3:06
5. Adam Dodd (NSW) / Lee Challoner-Miles (NSW), 2006 Mazda MX5, +3:43

TMR Performance 4WD Showroom Results after Day 1        
1. Tony Warren (Tas) / Greg Boyle (NSW) , 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX   
2. Scott Millar (Qld) / Christopher Dean (Qld), 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X      +37
3. Matthew Heskin (Vic) / Aleksandar Velkovski (Vic), 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X RS, +49
4. Greg Burrowes (Qld) / Rhonda Burrowes (Q ld), 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X,  +01:52
5. Ralph Norton (Tas) / Malcolm Norton (Tas), 2010 Subaru WRX STI, +2:06

Shannons Vintage Rallye
1. John Lawson / Andrew Lawson, 1938 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B Mille Miglia Spyder
2. Wayne Clark / Roger Richardson, 1938 Dodge Speedster Special, +2m16
3. Martin Wilson / Kevin Pitt, 1934 Jaguar SS Special, +4m06s

For Targa Tasmania photos click here

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