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Jason White continues to maintain his advantage as the overall leader of Targa Tasmania, after seven challenging stages on day four of the six-day tarmac marathon.

Driving his 2016 Dodge Viper ACR Extreme, White has withheld a strong attack from 2016 winner Matt Close in his Porsche GT3 RS to hold a 55 second lead.

Michael Pritchard’s Dodge Viper remains in third place, but is still within striking distance should either White or Close have problems on the run to Hobart.

The fourth day of Targa Tasmania saw crews leave the overnight halt in Burnie and head down the West Coast to Strahan, with a lunch break in Stanley.

There were seven Targa stages with a total competitive distance of 89.10 kilometres, the longest being the challenging 21km of Hellyer Gorge.

From the outset, White put his stamp of authority on the day, adding six seconds to his lead on the opening stage just out of Burnie. While Close bounced back and the drivers swapped times all day, White’s considerable advantage now means he should only need to conserve his lead, rather than drive on the limit to set stage winning times.

“We still need damp roads. We tried not to use the tyres up too much through Hellyer Gorge as it’s not that kind to our tyres, but we’ll pick and choose the bits where we can go fast and make up some time,” White said at day’s end.

“Through the fast stuff is where we will push on, but through the tight stuff we just have to make sure the tyres are happy.”

Tim Hendy has had another fantastic day in his Porsche GT4 to sit in fourth place, equal to the second with GT4 leader Angus Kennard in a Nissan GTR.

The top three in the overall competition are also the leaders in the Wrest Point GT2 category, while Angus Kennard’s stellar drive to date sees him leading Josh Hilton (Nissan GTR) and Crichton Lewis (Subaru WRX) in the battle for the RDA Brakes GT4 class.

“Were about two and a half minutes ahead, so we’re not trying to do anything too risky,” Kennard said.

“The roads have been patchy today from a grip point of view – there’s been a little bit of wet and a little bit of dry, and trying to assess that has been quite difficult.

“I don’t mind dry or wet, but when it’s consistently one or the other, it’s better.”

The Shannons Classic GT category Datsun 240Z of Jon and Gina Siddins continues to be the surprise package of the event. They comfortably lead their class, but incredibly lie in ninth position overall, leading many newer and more powerful cars.

Former Classic winner, Craig Haysman (1981 Triumph TR7 V8), has been unable to match the pace of the flying Siddins, and he now trails by over six minutes with two days still to come.

“We’ve got a good buffer now, so we will be cruising a bit now,” Siddins said.

“Gina’s been fantastic as a navigator – 90% of this is down to her, because I have to trust in what she says.

“As long as everything stays together we should maintain the lead, but we had a few brake issues yesterday which lost us some time.

“Our strategy now is to save tyres, save everything and hopefully just cruise home.”

In the handicapped Shannons Classic competition, Peter Ullrich looks to have the win well within his grasp. His 1963 Jensen CV8 again performed well over the twisting stages and lies four minutes and 37 seconds clear of Richard Woodward’s 1969 Holden Monaro GTS.

Adam Kaplan’s beautiful 2004 BMW M3 CSL leads the Duttons Garage Early Modern class after another dominant day. Kaplan increased his lead by nearly a minute on day four, with Jon Mitchell (Subaru) and Guy Lilleyman (Mitsubishi Lancer) his closest challengers.

The leading positions are also unchanged in other categories.

Jeff Morton and his 2017 Lotus Exige appear uncatchable in Country Club GT Sports Trophy, holding down a four minute lead, while Darryl Marshall has led the TSD Trophy since the first day, and now holds a commanding buffer in his Ford Falcon Ute.

The penultimate day of Targa Tasmania will see competitors leave Strahan and embark on the gruelling 33km stage out of Strahan. That’s followed by the event’s longest stage, the 53km of Mt Arrowsmith, before crews head to Hobart for the overnight halt.

2017 Targa Tasmania, provisional results after Day 4

1. Jason White / John White, 2016 Dodge Viper ACR Extreme
2. Matt Close / Cameron Reeves, 2015 Porsche GT3, +55s
3. Michael Pritchard / Gary Mourant, 2016 Dodge Viper ACR, +1m53s
=4. Tim Hendy / Julie Winton-Monet, 2016 Porsche GT4, +5m45s
=4. Angus Kennard / Ian Wheeler, 2015 Nissan GTR, +5m45s
6. Tony Quinn / Naomi Tillett, Porsche GT3, +5m51s
7. Paul Stokell / Jenny Cole, Lotus Exige, +5m55s
8. Craig Dean / Kate Catford, 2015 Ford Mustang Shelby GT, +6m22s
9. Jon Siddins / Gina Siddins, 1970 Datsun 240Z, +6m51s
10.Adam Kaplan/Aleshia Penney, 2004 BMW M3 CSL, +8m07s

1. Jason White / John White, 2016 Dodge Viper ACR Extreme
2. Matt Close / Cameron Reeves, 2015 Porsche GT3, +55s
3. Michael Pritchard / Gary Mourant, 2016 Dodge Viper ACR, +1m53s

1. Angus Kennard / Ian Wheeler, 2015 Nissan GTR
2. Joshua Hilton / Rodney Vanderpoel, 2016 Nissan GTR R35, +3m04s
3. Crichton Lewis / Adam Kudra, 2010 Subaru Sti, +5m00s

1. Peter Ullrich / Sari Ullrich, 1963 Jensen CV8
2. Richard Woodward / Neil Gibson, 1969 Holden Monaro GTS, +4m37s
3. David Gilliver / Nigel Shellshear, 1979 Ferrari 308 GTS, +5m30s

1. Jon Siddins / Gina Siddins, 1970 Datsun 240Z,
2. Craig Haysman / Julie Boorman, 1979 Triumph TR7 V8, +6m12s
3. Michael Bray / Daniel Bray, 1975 Holden Torana, +7m24s

1. Adam Kaplan / Aleshia Penney, 2004 BMW M3 CSL
2. Jon Mitchell / Joshua Sutclife, 2006 Subaru S204, +2m15s
3. Guy Lilleyman / John Lilleyman, 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, +5m38s

1. Jeff Morton / Dennis Neagle, 2017 Lotus Exige,
2. Richard Woodman / Marcus Towle, 2004 Subaru WRX, +4m22s
3. Jeff Beable / Nerida Beable, 2000 Nissan Skyline, +6m00s

1. Darryl Marshall / Peter Marshall, 2002 Ford Falcon Ute Pursuit 250, 36 points
2. Christopher Waldock / Christine Kirby, 2016 Jaguar F-Type SVR AWD, 103 points
3. Peter Lucas / Angela Coradine, 1984 Porsche Carrera, 151 points

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