DESPITE winning seven of yesterday's eight competitive Targa Tasmania stages, South Australian Steve Glenney extended his overnight lead by just 11 seconds on the loop to St Helens and back to Launceston.
Glenney's Nissan GT-R has a 38-second break over local hope Jason White, who moved his Mitsubishi Lancer ahead of the Audi TT RS of Matt Close across day two's 65 competitive kilometres.
Andrew Miedecke had opened up a two-minute buffer over the rest of the classic field going into the penultimate stage, the Sideling, but front suspension troubles left him stranded on the side of the road, handing the lead to the Triumph TR7 V8 of Craig Haysman.
The tightest tussle was in showroom 4WD, with Queenslander Clinton Arentz in a Mitsubishi Evo and Launceston's Ben Newman in a Subaru WRX STI swapping fastest times. Newman will take a 12-second lead into day three.
While Glenney dominated the scoreboard in terms of stage wins, each was a narrow victory, with no more than two seconds separating him and White on any of the eight tests.
``The battle for the lead has been pretty fierce,'' Glenney said. ``It's going to be a race to the finish, and the fight's on for sure.
``We've had lots of little niggling issues - nothing major - but we've been battling with those and still pushing hard and only edging small gaps.
``We always want more, but I'm fairly pleased because we managed our tyres well.''
White is also happy with his progress despite not having his preferred Lamborghini available.
``We never thought we would be winning stages this year in the Evo but we're really rapt with the way we've been performing, especially with the lack of preparation,'' he said.
Haysman is a popular leader in classic outright, but understands the vagaries of driving old cars better than most.
``We've been in this situation before and lost the lead,'' he said. ``There's no guarantees from here - we're still only a quarter of the way through.''
Jim Richards continues to shine in showroom sports in his Porsche Cayman S while Andrew Bollom has a seven-minute buffer in showroom.
Craig Dean has the modern muscle car class under control in his Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 while pre-event favourites Philip and David Frith have moved into first place in regularity.
In other classic competitions, Leigh Achterberg's 1982 Porsche leads late handicap, Zac Caudo tops early handicap in a 1973 Datsun 2000, Drew Kent is first in classic florio and Graham Copeland, the flag car, holds vintage rallye honours.
Tasmanian Ben Manion has been superb in early modern, his 1990 Skyline GTS-t nearly one minute clear of another local, Peter Nunn, in a 1990 Porsche 994 S2.
The course heads to the West Coast today and takes on classic stages Cethana and Hellyer Gorge on the way from Launceston to the overnight stop at Strahan.