From SMH 18/4/02
White out of contention following mechanical failure
LAUNCESTON, April 17 AAP|Published: Wednesday April 17, 7:23 PM
Tasmanian Jason White, nominated by Jim Richards as his main rival in this year's Targa Tasmania rally, dropped out of contention after today's opening leg.
White's turbo Mitsubishi Evo VII was slowed by a fuel pump failure and he received 60 minutes in accumulated penalties for failing to pass control points in the allocated time.
In a double blow for Tasmania, Hobart's three-time Australian Gold Star champion Paul Stokell was ruled ineligible to be included in official results because his Volkswagon Beetle did not comply with the regulations at scrutineering the previous day.
Richards, who has won the event a record five times, established an early lead in this year's 1977km event when he recorded a penalty time of six seconds over the opening eight stages in the northern area of the state.
The Porsche 911 Turbo driver Richards holds a 21s advantage over South Australia's Steve Glenney in a Nissan Skyline, while nine-time Bathurst winner Peter Brock is seventh in a V8 Holden Monaro, 48s behind Richards.
White, who was forth in yesterday's prologue, suffered mechanical problems after completing the Moriarty stage.
"We were just idling along and the car ran out of power," the Devonport driver said.
"I thought we must be out of fuel and then the car just gave up and stopped.
"I couldn't get hold of my service crew and I was getting a bit worried until I found out they were only a couple of minutes away."
White said he was considering disputing the time penalty, because he believed the sweep car did not pass him during the Moriarty stage.
"We will have to see what happens with the results and it's possible things could change," he said.
Targa chief technical officer Ken Price said the decision on Stokell's Volkswagon had been handed down when the car was found to be missing body support panels and interior trim components.
Stokell said he was disappointed at being ruled ineligible for inclusion in the results, but would continue driving in the event which finishes in Hobart on Sunday.
Tomorrow's second leg comprises nine stages with the field of around 280 cars travelling south to Hobart.
You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.