White hot prologue gets Targa under way

AFTER a devastating week where he lost both his father and grandfather, reigning champion Jason White has bounced back to set the fastest time in the Targa Tasmania prologue at George Town.

Jason and John White in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 secured top spot in the Targa Tasmania prologue at George Town.   Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

Jason and John White in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 secured top spot in the Targa Tasmania prologue at George Town. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

It has been a tough year for the Burnie driver, whose $600,000 Lamborghini was burnt to the ground at Targa Wrest Point in February. 

But White looked at home in his replacement Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, finishing the 4.8-kilometre stage 2.8 seconds quicker than the man considered his greatest rival for the modern crown, Steve Glenney.

Glenney's Nissan GT-R was 3.8 seconds clear of another former winner and GT-R driver, Queenslander Tony Quinn.

Victorian Matt Close, in an Audi TT RS, rounded out the top modern contenders, with all four expected to fight it out when the real action begins this morning.

``Winning the prologue was always important for my father,'' White said. 

``The old man always loved a prologue victory and would have a tear in his eye, so we couldn't really ease into it - we had to go for broke right from the start.

``I was impressed with our run - we were only two seconds slower than the Lamborghini.

``It was probably a bit irresponsible as far as tyre-wear goes and there's no way we will be able to maintain that pace all the way to Hobart.''

The funeral of White's grandfather is due to be held today but the driver said his family discussed the situation and insisted he should compete in Targa.

Glenney was also happy with his opening effort.

``I'd love to go hard early and break their hearts, but Targa is a long event so you've got to manage tyres and car and components, so it's a bit of a balancing act between that and speed,'' he said.

``We've got a couple of stages in mind that we think will really suit the car, so we'll press on there and see if we can gain some time in those.''

In the battle of the classics, Peter Ullrich set the pace in his magnificent 1963 Jensen CV8, finishing 4.7 seconds quicker than Ted Banks's 1971 Porsche 916.

Andrew Miedecke is expected to be the pacesetter on the opening leg north of Launceston, but was more conservative in his approach on the opening day.

Keeping the local fans happy was Launceston's Ben Newman, fastest in showroom 4WD in his Subaru WRX STI. 

``We love Targa Tasmania just like everyone else - it's the pinnacle, the grand final and it's all about winning this event,'' Newman said.

Another crowd favourite was the 1934 Ford Indy Car Special of Graham Copeland, the official flag car.

PROLOGUE RESULTS - Modern:  1. Jason White/John White, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, 2. Steve Glenney/Bernie Webb, 2009 Nissan GT-R Spec-V, +02.84s, 3. Tony Quinn/Kate Catford, 2011 Nissan GT-R Spec-V, +06634s.  Early modern:  1. Stephen Thatcher/Kelly Handley, Nissan ATTKD Select R SP, 2. Robert Balint/Peter Lane, Mitsubishi Evo TME 6.5, +03.70s, 3. Ben Manion/Julie Winton-Monet, 1990 Nissan Skyline GTS-t, +06.19s.  Modern muscle:  1. Neill Ford /Colin Maher, 2011 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, 2. Daniel Ford/Nathalie Ford, 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, +0.58s, 3. Craig Dean / Jenny Cole, 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500,+ 0.73s.  Showroom:  1. Andrew Bollom/Lee Challoner-Miles, 2011 Renault Megane RS 250; 2. Adam Spence/Erin Kelly, 2013 Renault Megane RS 265, +06.64s; 3. Andrew Robinson/Thomas Browell, 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP, +08.39s.  4WD showroom:  1. Ben Newman/Crichton Lewis, 2010 Subaru Impreza WRX STi, 2. Barrie Smith/Jan Smith, 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, +09.16s, 3. Clinton Arentz/Dale Moscatt, 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +10.59s.  Showroom sports:  1. Jim Richards/Barry Oliver, 2014 Porsche Cayman S, 2. Glyn Crimp/Paul van der Mey, 2012 Audi TTRS, +0.64s, 3. Michael Minshall/Kirrilee Gentleman, 2011 Audi TTRS, 12.25s.  Classic:  1. Peter Ullrich/Sari Ullrich, 1963 Jensen CV8, 2. Ted Banks/Bruce Douglas, 1971 Porsche 916, +04.77s, 3. Paul Freestone/Christine Freestone, 1948 Holden 215, +08.77s

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