Dom Storey and Peter Hackett continue to impress in the CAMS Australian Endurance Championship with Storey taking out this afternoon’s Top Ten Shootout ahead of tomorrow’s Highlands 501. The Australian-based Kiwi has been the standout driver at the Cromwell circuit all weekend and he handled the pressure of going last in the shootout with ease.
“I’ve worked really hard on my mental game over the last year,” says Storey. “That’s where I’ve let myself down before in my career. We’ve got a really tight team here. Peter believes in me and I’m a lot more confident in myself and the car. Every session we make minor changes to the Mercedes and it seems to be working at the moment.”
Shane van Gisbergen and ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett qualified their McLaren in 7th for the Top Ten Shootout and van Gisbergen took an early lead in the shootout with a 1:31.714. He didn’t hold the lead for long however, as Alvaro Parente, the McLaren factory driver from Portugal, went a second quicker than van Gisbergen with a blistering lap of 1:30.745. It’s Parente’s first visit to the Cromwell circuit, making his shootout lap even more impressive.
John Martin, Jaxon Evans, Tony D’Alberto and Steve Richards all tried and failed to break the 1:31 barrier before Storey, who’s been the quickest in practice all weekend had one last crack at Parente’s time.
Storey didn’t disappoint, beating the Portuguese driver by less than four-hundredths of a second, with a 1:30.708. Storey and Hackett are currently lying second in the Australian Endurance Championship behind Tim Miles and Jaxon Evans and need to win tomorrow’s 501 and hope that the championship leaders finish outside the top four if they want to snatch the title in the final race of the season. The Miles/Evans combination will start from sixth in tomorrow’s Highlands 501.
Tomorrow’s feature race will start at 12.40pm with the traditional Le Mans start. One of the drivers from each team will be nominated to participate in a sprint down pit lane to their car where the other driver will be waiting to start the race. Peter Hackett will start in the driver’s seat for today’s shootout winners, meaning Storey will have to stretch his legs to hang onto pole position.
“I used to run a lot and I think I finished second or third in last year’s Le Mans start,” says Storey. “I bought some new runners last week so I’m ready and hopefully I won’t let the team down!”
In the support categories at Highlands this afternoon, Sam Wallace was the first winner of the weekend, taking out the second round of the Toyo Tyres Mazda Pro7 Championship at Highlands, with Hunter Roland in second and Daniel Taylor in third. Jarrod Owens won the Euromarque category with Danny Whiting and Andy Knight in second and Highlands member Grant Aitken in third.