Dominic Storey has admitted the Mega Racing Porsche of Liam Talbot and John Martin was just “too far up the road” in Qualifying for the Hampton Downs 500.
The Autex/Eggleston Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3, which he shares with Peter Hackett, qualified on the second row of the grid for penultimate round of the Australian Endurance Endurance at Hampton Downs, after Storey set the third quickest time in the Top 10 Shootout.
The New Zealander believes there was a little more in his shootout lap, but says he struggled with getting the tyres up to temperature in the extremely wet conditions that marred all of Saturday’s running.
“I knew there was a chance in the top-10 shootout,” said Storey after the session.
“I just gave it my all really. I didn’t leave much on the table, there was probably just about half a second in it, but the [Pole-sitting Talbot and Martin] Porsche was just too far up the road today.
“You come to expect it, rear engined Porsche, front engined Merc, they’ve got good traction out of these slow speed corners, but the rain did it for us.
“In the wet, the Mercedes just didn’t switch on. Last year we had the same problem in the top-10 shootout because the AMG just takes so long to get its tyres up to temperature.
“Even with the tyre warmers, sitting on the dummy grid, and then going out, it just cools them down too much, never lone the puddles from the rain, which definitely didn’t help.”
The vastly experienced racer is looking to better his result from last years Hampton Downs 101, after he combined with Hackett to finish sixth in the 2016 race.
“I want to get back what I probably should have won last year, which is the big one on the Sunday,” said Storey.
“We’ll be aiming for that tomorrow. Starting up the front gives us a good chance.
“Peter [Hackett] is a great driver – he’s very sensible and he’s going to be starting near Fraser [Ross] and Liam [Talbot]. Those three I imagine will clear off from the other co-drivers early on.
“Then it’ll be up to me at the end of the race to do the best job I can.”
Storey is confident heading into Sunday’s gruelling 500km race and claims his and co-driver Hackett’s Mercedes will be brilliant over the length of the scheduled 132 laps.
“You look at our pace last year, I think our race lap was a 1:30.1, which got the lap record and was nine tenths faster than anyone else,” said a delighted Storey.
“Our car over a long distance will be fantastic. It’ll probably be better than the Porsche—fingers crossed.
“I’m happy and I think the race is going to be good.”
The Hampton Downs 500 kicks off at 12:30pm (local time), with a livestream available via the Australian GT website.