Hampton Downs 500 glory for Storey and Hackett second time around
Kiwi Dom Storey and Peter Hackett have won the Hampton Downs 500 in New Zealand over the weekend prompting them to second place in the Australian Endurance Championship with a round remaining at Highlands Motorsport Park in a fortnight.
It was a dominant performance from the Eggleston Motorsport pairing of Storey and Hackett who finished 27.543 seconds ahead of Championship rivals Tim Miles and Jaxon Evans. It was even more satisfying for Storey and Hackett who were penalized for a pit lane transgression in yesterday’s Top Ten Shootout, which saw them demoted from 3rd to 9th on the starting grid.
“I didn’t believe it was possible to make such a comeback, but sometimes a knock like that re motivates you and that seemed to work for both Pete and I - Pete drove outstandingly in the opening stint and that allowed me to dominate the remaining 60 laps of the race”
The weekend wasn’t plain sailing however, Storey and Hackett enduring torrential wet weather on Saturday for Qualifying. The pair qualifying 3rd overall and Storey claiming 3rd in the top 10 shootout before being demoted to 9th.
“We didn’t quite have the pace on Saturday to top be right up the front, I did my absolute best to drag a lap out in the top 10 and was pretty happy with 3rd. I knew if it dried out for Sunday we would be in with a shot, our car was outstanding at Hampton Downs in 2016’
Hackett’s opening stint was fantastic, climbing from 9th on the grid to 3rd 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,” says Hackett. “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” - said Hackett
The first of the compulsory pit stops and driver changes happened midway through the race with Dom Storey taking over from Hackett with a 25-second lead back to John Martin with Tony D’Alberto in third.
Two-thirds of the way through the 500km race and Storey enjoyed a comfortable lead 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 moves 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.
“Dom’s a real pro,” says Hackett. “I’m so chuffed for him, especially in his home race. He had a lot of sponsors, friends, and family here. He’s a superstar of New Zealand motorsport” - said Hackett.
“This win is a full credit to Eggleston Motorsport and all my partners, especially Autex who are celebrating 50 years this year, its special to get a win of this kind on both mine and their home soil” - said Storey.
Dominic Storey proudly supported by - Autex Global, Mercedes Benz Berwick, Sensory Lab, iCapsulate, Data Express, Seven Friday & Bluehive Financial Services