HACKETT AND STORY SCORE PODIUM AT THE INAUGURAL ROUND OF THE AUSTRALIAN ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
Peter Hackett and Dom Storey have stood on the podium at the first ever round of the Australian Endurance Championship at the Phillip Island 101 in Victoria.
The pair qualified mid field after the aggregate qualifying times of both drivers were added together but Storey rapidly rose up the time sheets following the rolling start on Sunday around 1pm.
Storey raced hard and clean up to an impressive 6th place (from 15th on the grid) until he brought the car in for the first of two compulsory timed pit stops (CPS) on lap 20. Pit stop times are based on the driver seeding level of both drivers (the higher the seeding the longer the pit stop time) and saw the EMS duo stationary in the pit lane for a lengthy 2 minutes and 10 seconds. During this time the car was refuelled and Hackett jumped on board and performed a stellar middle stint.
While at times required to conserve fuel in order for the car to make it to the next pit stop, Hackett impressed in his first race back after the season opener at Clipsal and only his second event in 4 years. Hackett was sitting in a very solid 3rd position prior to pitting on lap 67 after a 46 lap stint for Storey to climb back in the drivers seat for the run to the flag.The car was again refuelled and a fresh set of tyres bolted on for Storeys sprint home over the remaining 34 laps.
It was an action packed last stint and a spectators dream. Storey battled with his fellow Kiwi countryman and professional V8 Supercar racer Shane Van Gisbergen as he stormed through the field. After an entertaining battle, the hard charging Van Giz was able to get by Storey, all the while the pair were catching leader Nathan Morcom but time ran out and the mighty Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3 crossed the line in a stunning 3rd position.
The result was all the more sweet after substantial damage at the opening round saw the car completely rebuilt prior to the event. Car nor drivers missed a beat all weekend and it was just rewards for the entire team after many long days and nights to get the silver beauty back on track.
The #63 machine will return to the track at Sydney Motorsport Park on August 26-28 for Round 2 of the Australian Endurance Championship where we are aiming to climb onto the top step of the podium.