Clear skies help Quinn stretch lead

Tony Quinn in action in his McLaren on Tuesday

Tony Quinn in action in his McLaren on Tuesday

THE leading competitors in Targa Tasmania have flexed their muscles on day two of the event, with Tony Quinn, Jason White and Pete Nunn all establishing handy leads in their respective categories.

Quinn’s 2014 McLaren 650S made the most of the dry conditions to build a 90 second lead in Showroom, Jason White’s Lamborghini Gallardo moved past rival Eddie Maguire in Modern, and the Porsche 944 Turbo of Pete Nunn is now over a minute ahead in Classic Outright.

The second day of Targa Tasmania saw crews head west of Launceston for eight stages totalling nearly 90km. After a lunch break in the coastal city of Devonport, competitors returned to Launceston for the overnight halt.

After winning yesterday’s George Town street stage by nine seconds, Tony Quinn showed that his McLaren is clearly the class of the Showroom field. He consistently set the fastest stage times throughout the day, putting a big gap between he and Jim Richards’ Porsche Cayman.

Craig Dean’s Ford Mustang lies third, 10 seconds behind Richards, after TV star Grant Denyer dropped five minutes, putting him out of contention – at least for the time being.

‘‘The event’s just started and it’s a long way to go. I’ve done many of them and won outright twice,’’ Quinn said.

‘‘We’re surrounded by a good bunch of drivers and there will be a heap of stories at the end of the week. I think if I can do a good job for McLaren, I’ll be happy.’’

With his Lamborghini Gallardo get faster with each stage, Eddie Maguire’s Mitsubishi was unable to match the Italian supercar’s speed over the day’s eight stages, and is now 18 seconds in arrears.

Last year’s Targa Tasmania winner, Jamie Vandenberg, has moved into third, 53 seconds off the pace, and is waiting for those in front to hit trouble.

‘‘We changed the gearbox overnight and put the old one back in, but I’m struggling to get it back into second gear today,’’ White explained.

‘‘Anytime you can be in front Targa is a good thing – no lead is big enough or good enough, but with the issues we’re having, we’re happy to be there.’’

Local knowledge was an advantage for Launceston’s Pete Nunn as he extended his Classic Outright lead to over a minute, his Porsche 944 Turbo running perfectly and setting up a strong lead.

Craig Haysman (1981 Triumph TR7 V8), despite never having had great success at Targa Tasmania, is second, well clear of Peter Ullrich’s 1963 Jensen CV8.

‘‘We’ve been happy with our progress today – the car’s been great, the conditions are great and we’re holding our own,’’ Nunn said.

‘‘We’ve just got to sit back a little because it’s a race of endurance and just ensure we make it. It’s a fragile car, so we have to treat it with a little bit of respect.’’

Nunn’s speed also sees him leading the Late Classic Handicap class, while Peter Ullrich is nearly two minutes clear of his nearest rival in Early Classic Handicap. Tim Hendy (Nissan Skyline) has a 21 second lead over Adam Kaplan’s BMW in Early Modern.

Other class leaders after day two are Barrie Smith (Audi TT RS) in 4WD Showroom, Jeff Beable (Nissan Skyling) in Sports Trophy, Bob Fisher (Triumph TR4) in Thoroughbred Trophy, and Wayne Clarke continues to lead the Vintage class in his 1938 Dodge Speedster Special.

Day three of Targa Tasmania heads to the East Coast with a lunch stop in St Helens. 

A further eight stages will be tackled, with the day’s finale around the streets of Longford.

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