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Five down, four to go

02 May 2015

DEVONPORT, TASMANIA - Just to compete, the Whites had to rebuild their Lamborghini, which was all but destroyed by fire racing in Targa Wrest Point in February last year.

The resurrection was completed only days before the event, which started on Monday, and came with a week of headaches.

One of them was a leaking battery which filled the cabin with acid on Thursday and brought tears to John's eyes just recalling the incident.

"It really could have screwed us," he said.

"The car was filled with sulphuric acid fumes and we were damn near driving with our heads out the window.
"It took the back out of the throat. When you get burned that bad ... it's not good."

The Whites went into the last day leading by 1m34 over Glenney.

"The clutch was slipping that badly we couldn't accelerate," Jason said.
"We weren't planning to lose any time today, we were planning to match times, but with three stages to go I thought it was all over. We could hardly make it up a hill in one of the transport stages.
"I'm relieved now, but I feel a few years older."

That's the warning from John White after he and nephew Jason limped over the finish line in their ailing Lamborghini to take their fifth Targa Tasmania crown in Hobart.

Before he hangs up the race suit John, 65, has set his sights on breaking the record for the most Targa Tasmania titles held by Victorian Jim Richards and his Tasmanian navigator Barry Oliver.

"I've said I'd retire from rallying when I turned 70 so therefore we have to win better than one every two years to actually beat Jim's record," John said. "This one makes it a little bit easier but we still have to get three out of the next four to fulfil that ambition."

After six days and 1835km, this year's win was by a mere 26 seconds over former champions and fellow Tasmanians Steve Glenney (Nissan GT-R) in second and Jamie Vandenberg (Nissan GT-R) in third.

Republished from the Mercury newspaper