Hack­ett, Storey in NZ quinella

The Dominion Post - - Entertainment | Sport -

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.

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