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Jason White's bid for the Australian Targa Championship is well on track, with the Devonport driver holding a 20 second lead after the first day of Targa Tasmania.

The Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale driver led throughout the opening day's stages in northern Tasmania, ahead of Hobart-based Steve Glenney in a Nissan GT-R, and Matt Close’s Audi TT RS.

Tasmanian Peter O'Keefe (1976 Holden Torana A9X) is a surprise leader in the Classic Outright competition, ahead of six-times winner, Rex Broadbent, while Adam Spence has taken control of the Showroom competition in his Renault Megane RS 250.

The opening day of competition in the 22nd running of Targa Tasmania was held on stages in the north of the state, in fine and dry conditions.

White led from the outset, and steadily increased his lead throughout the day as some of his rivals hit trouble, putting the local driver in the box seat for his fourth Targa Tasmania crown.

“It’s great to be in front. I was expecting to be level-pegging with Steve Glenney, but he’s had a few little dramas and we’ve had a couple of tiny ones, but not enough to whinge about,” White said.

“Hopefully he (Glenney) can be one of the GTRs which can keep its reliability up and take it to the wire.

“We’ve had a ball today, especially our favourite stage at Paloona.”

Steve Glenney looked the most likely to challenge White on the first day, before dropping 12 seconds on the day’s final stage as he comes to grips with his new Nissan GT-R.

Matt Close sits in third place, and less than a minute from the lead. His consistency and experience of the event should come into play the longer the event goes, and one slip up from White could be all the Victorian needs to seize the advantage.

Frank Purdey and Matt Sims (Nissan GTRs) are fourth and fifth, while seven-times winner, Jim Richards, is sixth in his Porsche 911 GT2 RS.

O’Keefe’s lead in the Classic Outright competition was unexpected. Driving a 1976 Holden Torana A9X, the Tasmanian led for the entire day, with only a late charge from Broadbent closing the gap to four seconds after eight stages.

“The car’s been pretty good and I’m still getting used to it. It’s a bit different to my old Torana,” O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe hinted that he might come under team orders on day two, as his team-mate, Greg Garwood, lies in third place in another Torana A9X, just ahead of the 1970 Datsun 240Z of Jon Siddins, and reigning Australian Targa Champion, Donn Todd, in his 1971 Ford Capri Perana.

Television personality, Grant Denyer, is well in the running for the two-wheel RDA Brakes Showroom competition in his Renault Megane. Denyer trails the similar Renault of Adam Spence, with the French cars holding the first five places in the category.

“It’s still fairly foreign to me, but it’s coming fast,” Denyer explained.

“We have had moments which make you grin from ear to ear, and ones which make you turn your undies brown. That’s a good balance for life, I reckon.

“I think we can improve when I learn more to trust my navigator.”

West Australian, Glyn Crimp, is the first non-Renault, holding down sixth place in his Ford Focus RS.

The Early Modern competition is a tightly-contested affair, with Michael Pritchard (Porsche 911GT3) just a second clear of the Nissan Skyline of Ben Manion; Dean Millar (Mitsubishi Lancer) is 39 seconds clear in 4WD Showroom, while Daniel Ford leads a Chevrolet Corvette 1-2 I Showroom Sports.

The event also includes a handicap section for classic cars. The husband and wife team of Peter and Sari Ullrich (1963 Jensen CV8) lead the Early Classics, with John Ireland’s Porsche just two second ahead of Peter O’Keefe’s Holden in Late Classic.

Day two of Targa Tasmania heads to the state’s north east with eight Targa stages, including favourites such as Elephant Pass and The Sideling. The day finishes with a stage around the streets of Longford, before competitors head back at the Launceston Country Club.

Targa Tasmania - provisional results after Day 1

RDA Brakes Modern

1. Jason White/John White, 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale
2. Steve Glenney/Bernie Webb, 2009 Nissan GT-R Spec-V, +20s
3. Matt Close/Casey Close, 2010 Audi TT RS, ++59s
4. Frank Purdey/Cameron Reeves, 2009 Nissan GT-R, +1m16s
5. Matt Sims/Denis Sims, 2013 Nissan GT-R, +1m25s
6. Jim Richards/Barry Oliver, 2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS +1n35s
7. David Ayers/Robbie Bolton, 2013 Nissan GT-R, 2m26s
=8. Ben Searcy/James Maarquet, 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, +2m28s
=8. Clinton Arentz/Pete Burrey, 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, +2m28s
10. Lynn Rattray/Lindon Hills, 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Spec C, +2m49s

Shannons Classic Outright

1. Peter O'Keefe/Julie Winton-Monet, 1976 Holden Torana A9X
2. Rex Broadbent/Paul Batten, 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS, +4s
3. Greg Garwood/John Allen, 1977 Holden Torana A9X, +18s
4. Jon Siddins/Darren Ferguson, 1970 Datsun 240Z, +25s
5. Donn Todd/ Dean Tighe. 1971 Ford Perana Capri, +52s
6. John Ireland/Michael Ribot, 1977 Porsche 911 Carrera 3, 1m03s
7. Craig Haysman/Neil Branum, 1981 Triumph TR7 V8, 1m18s
8. Stephen Crowe/Richard Crowe, 1985 Mazda RX7, 2m32s
9. Steve McClintock/Jann Skinner, 1985 Mazda RX7, 2m41s
10. Paul Freestone/Christine Freestone, 1948 Holden 215, 3m04s

RDA Brakes Showroom 2WD

1. Adam Spence/Erin Kelly, 2011 Renault Megane RS 250
2. Grant Denyer/Dale Moscatt, 2011 Renault Megane RS 250, +25s
3. Mike Sinclair/Bill Hayes, 2012 Renault Megane RS 250, +46s

RDA Brakes 4WD Showroom

1. Dean Millar/Christopher Dean, 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X
2. Angus Kennard/Ian Wheeler, 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX, +39s
3. Ben Newman/Crichton Lewis, 2010 Subaru Impreza WRX, +51s

RDA Brakes Early Modern

1. Michael Pritchard/Gary Mourant, 2003 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
2. Ben Manion/Damian Roach, 1990 Nissan Skyline GTS-t, +1s
3. Stephen Thatcher/Kelly Handley, 1994 Nissan ATTKD Select R SP, +56s

RDA Brakes Showroom Sports

1. Daniel Ford/Nathalie Ford, 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
2. Neill Ford/Colin Maher, 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, +13s
3. Craig Dean/Emma Quigley, 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, +21m27s

Shannons Early Classic Handicap

1. Peter Ullrich/Sari Ullrich, 1963 Jensen CV8
2. Jon Siddins/Darren Ferguson, 1970 Datsun 240Z, +19s
3. Andrew White/Ashley Yeilds, 1961 Volvo 122S

Shannons Late Classic Handicap

1. John Ireland/Michael Ribot, 1977 Porsche 911 Carrera 3
2. Peter O'Keefe/Julie Winton-Monet, 1976 Holden Torana A9X, +2s
3. Greg Garwood/John Allen, 1977 Holden Torana A9X, +17s

Shannons Classic Florio Handicap
1. Drew Kent/Ella Kent, 1971 Ford Falcon GT
2. Mac Russell/Marjorie Russell, 1976 Morgan Plus 8, +4m23s
3. Wayne Gerlach/Dianne Gerlach, 1974 Porsche 911, +6m18s

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