Storey/Hackett claim popular Hampton Downs 500 win
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Kiwi Dominic Storey and Australian Peter Hackett drove away from the field to win the Laser Plumbing & Electrical Hampton Downs 500 in their Mercedes on Sunday.
Championship leaders Jaxon Evans and Tim Miles finished second to take a big step towards overall glory in their Audi R8 LMS. They made a great recovery after crashing in treacherous qualifying conditions and were forced to start 10th after missing the shootout.
Another Mercedes of Tony D'Alberto and Max Twigg was third.
Popular former NZ SuperTourers driver Storey qualified third fastest in the top 10 shootout on Saturday but was later handed a penalty that dropped them to ninth after he was judged to have gone out late on his shootout lap. The team was not happy with the call, claiming the race director called every other car when they were required, but took their penalty on Sunday.
Hackett made a superb start to Sunday's race however and got to third before he took an early pit stop. They jumped to the front after the first safety car intervention and held the spot through the remainder of the race.
Storey, who is based in Australia these days, thought his race was ruined when the shootout penalty was handed down.
"I did because I thought the Porsche [of pole sitters John Martin and Liam Talbot] had a lot of pace and I know they are a great pairing and I just thought they would walk the race but Pete did an awesome job and caught Liam in the second stint and that made the race really," he told The Herald.
"The fact he got in front of them after starting ninth is just amazing. The safety car probably helped us but great strategy from my engineer to call that strategy."
Martin and Talbot ended up fourth but fall behind Storey and Hackett in the series standings heading to the series finale at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell in a fortnight.
Storey isn't going to think about championship calculations. He came to Hampton Downs desperate to win in front of friends and family and make up for the disappointment of last year where they looked on course to win at the North Waikato track before getting their calculations wrong and were handed a drive through penalty for a technical error that ruined their race.
"It seems like yesterday we were standing here and I was so dejected after we probably could have won it," Storey said. "To come back and do what we thought was possible - I am rapt.
"Yesterday it was raining so I just made sure I kept the car straight. I thought I did an alright job in the shootout to get third and then we got the penalty but Pete just did a great job and gave me a car to win."