Hackett, Storey in NZ quinella
Kiwi drivers finished first and second in the Hampton Downs 500, with Dom Storey and Peter Hackett claiming the win ahead of the Australian Endurance Championship leaders, Jaxon Evans and Tim Miles.
It was a dominant performance from the Eggleston Motorsport pairing of Storey and Hackett who finished 27.543 seconds ahead of Miles and Evans yesterday.
It was even more satisfying for New Zealander Storey and Australian Hackett, who were penalised for a pit lane transgression in Saturday’s Top Ten Shootout, where they were demoted from third to ninth on the starting grid.
‘‘Motorsport is very up and down but you’ve got to take those knocks and use them to motivate yourself,’’ Storey said.
‘‘I came here really fired up to do well and I’m just so rapt for the team.’’
The McLaren of Fraser Ross and Alvaro Parente was the big mover on the opening lap, jumping six places from eighth on the grid to second after Ross found a cracking line on the outside of the field on turn one. Hackett also showed good pace in the early stages, climbing from ninth on the grid to third before coming in for an early pit stop on lap 18.
That strategy paid dividends when the first safety car brought the field together on lap 30.
A few laps later, Hackett had worked his way through the field and he took the lead on lap 39 with a gutsy move down the inside of Talbot on turn two.
‘‘We wanted to make sure Dom had a full tank of gas for the last stint,’’ Hackett said. ‘‘That was critical.
‘‘I was catching the guys in front rather rapidly in the early stages so rather than get caught up in someone else’s fight, we decided to get out of the traffic.
‘‘I came in after the splash and dash and I had clean air in front of me for a few laps.
‘‘Then a safety car came out and a safety car can go either way as we found out here last year when it cost us the win. This year it worked in our favour.’’
Championship leader Miles and Evans made the start line after the Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing team worked late into the night to repair the damage on the Audi R8 LMS in Saturday’s qualifying session.
Miles took the wheel for the opening stint and improved from eighth on the grid to fourth midway through the race.
The first of the compulsory pit stops and driver changes happened midway through the race with Storey taking over from Hackett with a 25-second lead back to John Martin with Tony D’Alberto in third. Alvaro Parente, the McLaren factory driver from Portugal, looked set to make a charge through the field when he took over from Fraser Ross but a drive-through penalty proved costly.
John Martin was also penalised for a pit lane transgression which promoted Evans to third. Two thirds of the way through the 500km race and Storey enjoyed a lead of a minute over the field.
Evans moved into second after the second compulsory pit stop and briefly threatened to close the gap on Storey but in the end, it was a comfortable win.
It moved Hackett and and Storey into second in the Australian Endurance Championship and within striking distance of Miles and Evans going into the final round at Highlands.
The Australian GTs head to Highlands in Central Otago for the Highlands 501 from November 10-12, which doubles as the final round of the Australian Endurance Championship.
Kiwi Dom Storey, right, and Australian Peter Hackett won the Hampton Downs 500 yesterday.