Queenslander Tony Quinn has maintained his advantage in the Modern competition of Targa Tasmania after an eventful penultimate day of the five-day tarmac classic.

Quinn and his Nissan GT-R now lead the event by nearly three minutes, although Subaru driver Dean Herridge is coming fast and is relishing the wet weather that crews faced on the run to Strahan on the west coast.

Rex Broadbent has opened up a comfortable lead in the Classic Outright competition after overnight leader, Andrew Miedecke, misjudged a corner and spun his 1970 Ford Capri Perana into a ditch, taking him out of the event.

Mazda’s Brendan Reeves continues to dominate the Showroom class ahead of Mike Sinclair’s Skoda, while Western Australian, Blaise Paris, is still the man to beat in the Early Modern race.

Day four took the Targa competitors from Launceston across to Ulverstone and then south-west to the overnight halt in Strahan. Fine weather prevailed early in the day, but torrential rain around Hellyer Gorge, Roseberry and Rinadeena really spiced things up.

Quinn was untroubled at the head of the pack, but a fierce battle for second place between Dean Herridge (Subaru) and Matt Close (Audi TT RS) soon saw some changes to the leaderboard.

Herridge attacked in wet conditions that he enjoys. Close tried to respond, but in doing so he put his Audi off the road and out of the event on the last stage of the day.

This left South Australian Matt Sims (Nissan GT-R) in third place, ahead of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X of Dean Evans, while 2007 Targa winner, Tony Sullens, rounds out the top five in his Subaru.

“We’ve put our better tyres on the back, but the front of the car is not behaving itself,” Quinn said. “We’re just plugging through as some of the conditions have been atrocious.

“We’ve been aquaplaning and there’s not much I can do. Dean is coming through fast and I think his tyres are medium compound, which are the ones to have for the wet, so he’ll be hoping the conditions continue.”

While he was making the most of the conditions, Herridge explained that tyres weren’t the only problem to be encountered.

“It’s been pretty difficult actually,” Herridge said. “We’ve had a good run through today, but we’re just trying to keep it smooth. One of the difficulties has been the water just running across the roads, so it’s been unbelievably hard conditions with the rain and windows fogging up. “

One of the big losers on day four was 2010 winner Jason White. After copping a 20 minute penalty on day two of the event, the Lamborghini driver’s crew had to change a rear differential overnight, but then his clutch faultered and he lost more time. He is currently in 26th place.

Classic Outright leader, Andrew Miedecke, had built up a lead of nearly a minute after the first stage on day four, but he appeared to lose concentration after passing another crew who had crashed on the long Cethana stage.

Miedecke then dropped the rear wheels of his V8 Capri into the gravel and spun into a ditch. It was an unfortunate and unlucky end to the event for the veteran touring car driver.

Despite the rain, Rex Broadbent could then ease his pace and conserve his lead over David Cooper (Holden Torana A9X), who lost time with worn tyres on the wet Hellyer Gorge stage.

“We don’t like the rain and we’ve been slipping and sliding all over the place,” Broadbent said.

“We’re doing as well, or better, than anyone else and we have backed off a lot as we’ve got a bit of a buffer now. We seem to be opening up the lead on some of the wet stages, so we we’re in conservation mode now.”

Hellyer Gorge was the slipperiest stage I’ve ever driven,” Cooper added.

“Our tyres were completely gone, so we stopped after the Grorge and bolted our two spares on that we were keeping for tomorrow. That gave us a bit more grip on the last couple of stages, but it’s not a lot of fun.”

Third place in the class is now held by Nic Ellis in a Porsche 911 Carrera 3.

Reeves’s lead in the Showroom competition extended throughout the day, but the Mazda driver was also keeping a close eye on the outright times, where he had unofficially moved into the top 10.

“This morning was dry and the car was working well, but we broke a sway bar link just before lunch in the Rhiana stage,” Reeves said.

“The boys fixed that during lunch, then this afternoon has been really wet through Hellyer Gorge and Roseberry. The car was been working really well for us, and we’ve pulled a lot of time on Broadbent, and we’re now up in the top 10 outright.”

The final day of Targa Tasmania sees the event move from Strahan to the finish at Wrest Point in Hobart.

Far from being an easy run to the finish, the day includes the event’s longest stage, the iconic 58.55 kilometre Mt Arrowsmith test.

RESULTS – Day Four 2011 Targa Tasmania (Provisional)
 Pure Tasmania Modern Results after Day 4     
1. Tony Quinn (QLD) / Naomi Tillett (SA), 2009 Nissan GT-R
 2. Dean Herridge (WA) / Ben Searcy (WA), 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +2:55
 3. Matthew Sims (SA) / Dennis Sims (SA), 2009 Nissan GT-R, +4:30
Shannons Classic Outright Results after Day 4     
1. Rex Broadbent (VIC) / Chris Randell (VIC), 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS
 2. David Cooper (TAS) / Jason Dann (TAS), 1977 Holden Torana A9X, +2m28s
 3. Nic Ellis (VIC) / Travis Lacey (VIC), 1977 Porsche 911 Carrera RS, 5m19s
Pure Tasmania Showroom Results after Day 4     
1. Brendan Reeves (VIC) / Rhianon Smyth (VIC), 2009 Mazda3 MPS
 2. Michael Sinclair (VIC) / Bill Hayes (WA), 2009 Skoda Octavia RS, +9m29s
 3. Adam Dodd (NSW) / Lee Challoner-Miles (NSW), 2006 Mazda MX5, +19m30s

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