Driving a 2015 Porsche GT3 with co-driver Cameron Reeves, the Close and Reeves took the lead mid-way through the penultimate day when arch-rival Jason White retired his new Dodge Viper with engine failure on the run from Strahan to Hobart.
Victory didn’t come easily for Close, despite his nine-minute buffer at the start of the day. An early scare on the opening stage when he got sideways was followed by a flat tyre on the penultimate stage. But Close, taking part in his 12th Targa Tasmania, secured his first victory.
“We had a bit of a fright on the Tinderbox Stage with a big moment and then three kays into Pelverata one of our rear tyres blew out,” Close said. “We had a relatively good lead, but you never know. “It was a very stressful hour – we got in before the sweep car and within our late time, but you just don’t need that. “It’s taken me 12 Targas to win – I hope it doesn’t take another 12 for my next one. “We’ve already started planning for next year and we’ll make a few changes to the car and we’ll get better.”
The battle for the minor placings went the way of Hobart surgeon Michael Pritchard in a Dodge Viper. Seven times Targa winner, Jim Richards, charged through the final day’s six stages in his Porsche GT4 to finish in third place.
Jim uses the new DUNLOP Sport Maxx Race tyre on his Porsche GT4, somewhat less powerful than Matts GT3.