After setting the fastest time in the prologue, Kiwi Jim Richards has emerged as the leading contender in the Modern category of this year?s Targa Tasmania.
Richards, driving a Porsche 911 GT2, was nearly a second-and-a-half faster than his nearest rival, Victorian Matt Close, around the 4.5 kilometre course in Georgetown on Tasmania?s North Coast. Holding third position was the Lamborghini Gallardo of Jason White.
Having won the event eight times, Richards believes his chances of adding a ninth Targa crown to his illustrious list of achievements will rest on the weather.
?Things went as good as it could on Prologue day. Our time was quicker than last year on this stage, but the car was only three weeks old last year. We?ve changed the suspension and put different springs in it since then,? he said.
?But today?s stage means nothing really. We?ll always be competitive if it?s dry, but if it?s damp, slippery and wet we won?t be.?
Reigning champion Steve Glenney had a less than ideal start to his title defence, encountering mechanical problems in his new Mazda RX-8 SP.
The car lost turbo pressure during the stage, hindering his progress as he crossed the line with the 50th fastest time, although the car is expected to be ready for day one of the Targa Tasmania action.
In the classic section, Gary Tierney was quickest wielding a 1974 Porsche 911 RS, while the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10 of Rod Salmon heads the Showroom class.
RESULTS - Targa Tasmania - Prologue
1. Jim Richards (VIC), Barry Oliver, (TAS), 2008 Porsche 911 GT2
2. Matt Close (VIC), Cameron Reeves (QLD), 2000 Porsche 911 Turbo, +1.33s
3. Jason White (TAS), John White (TAS), 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, +2.21s
4. Steve Jones (WA), Ruari Soutar-Dawson, 2007 Nissan GTR, +3.47s
5. Kevin Weeks (SA), Rebecca Crunkhorn (SA), 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, +3.54s
6. Dean Herridge (WA), Glen Weston (QLD), 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +3.55s
1. Ric Shaw, James Parish, 1997 Mazda RX7
2. Jeff Beable, Nerida Beable, 2000 Nissan Skyline GTR V-Spec, +3.12s
3. Andrew Bollom, Brad Trenwith, 1997 Mazda RX7, +3.23s
4. Brendon Manion, Benjamin Manion, 1995 Nissan Skyline GTR V-Spec, +5.99s
5. Richard Perini. Chris Perini, 2000 Porsche 911 GT3, +6.72s
1. Gary Tierney (VIC), David Carra (VIC), 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS
2. David Cooper (TAS, Brad Sherrif (TAS), 1977 Holden Torana A9X, +1.15s
3. Gavin James (VIC), Neil McLeod, (VIC), 1989 Porsche 944 S2 +1.63s
4. Ben Wooster (QLD), Tim Kulhanek (TAS), 1990 Nissan Skyline GTS-t, +3.02s
5. Bill Pye (NSW), David Potter (NSW), 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS, +3.78s
1. Scott Kent, Wayne Kent, 1965 Ford Mustang
2. Drew Kent, Paul Krawczyk, 1971 Ford Falcon GT, +0.23s
3. Jon Siddins, Darren Ferguson, 1970 Datsun 240Z, +0.35s
4. Paul Batten, Mike Batten, 1961 Volvo PV544, +2.24s
5. Andrew White, Ashley Yields, 1961 Volvo 122S, +5.74s
1. Rod Salmon (NSW), Samantha Stevens (NSW), 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10
2. Brendan Reeves (VIC), Rhianon Smyth (VIC), 2007 Mazda3 MPS, +1.97s
3. Rick Bates (NSW), Anthony McLoughlin, (QLD), 2007 Mazda3 MPS, +3.12s
4. Simon Clarke (QLD), Peter Wickham (QLD), 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10, +5.64s
5. Greg Burrowes (QLD), Rhonda Burrowes (QLD), 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10, +8.34s
[Images courtesy Joel Strickland]