John Martin and Liam Talbot will start from pole position in the Laser Plumbing & Electrical Hampton Downs 500 on Sunday afternoon after they won today’s Top Ten Shootout.
The Porsche pair was fastest in the two morning qualifying sessions held in atrocious conditions. Several cars struggled to cope with the surface water on the track. The Australian Endurance Championship leaders, Tim Miles and Jaxon Evans are hoping to patch their Audi back together in time for tomorrow’s feature race after Miles car aquaplaned on the back straight and crashed into the concrete barrier. There were no such problems for Martin and Talbot.
“It was so wet out there you needed a jetski in some places,” says Martin.“It was pretty crazy but the Porsche is strong in the rain.”
Martin was in the driver’s seat for the shootout and he just pipped Portuguese driver Alvaro Parente to pole with a time of 1:43.409s. Dominic Storey was the best of the Kiwis in third.
“It wasn't the greatest lap I’ve ever driven but it was just enough to get us on pole,” says Martin. “I started a bit tentatively because I wasn't sure how much grip I had to play with but I picked up some time in the middle sector and finished strong.”
“I believe it’s going to be dry tomorrow. That’s what the forecast was but we’ve had a good car all year, wet or dry. Liam has been doing a great job and we’re starting in the right position tomorrow.”
Martin and Talbot are currently second in the championship behind Miles and Evans but they will fancy their chances of closing the gap before the season finale at Highlands in Central Otago in two weeks time, particularly if the Kiwi pair fail to get their car fixed in time.
“It’s all to play for,” says Martin. “You’ve just got to go out and do the best you can and if that’s not good enough, it’s not good enough.”
In other categories at Hampton Downs, John Midgley took out the first race for the Central Muscle Cars with Angus Fogg leading the field home in Race 2. Daniel Connor won the opening race of the Ssangyong Actyon Series with Matt Gibson taking the chequered flag in Race 2. Glenn Smith in a Daytona Prototype car, one of the fastest cars in any category in New Zealand, dominated the new Fast & Furious Racing format.
Gates open at 8 am on Sunday with a grid walk before the Hampton Downs 500 at 12. There will be live coverage on TV3 while the race will also be live streamed via the New Zealand Herald website.
Top Ten Shootout times (provisional)
1.John Martin/Liam Talbot (Porsche) 1:43.409s
2.Alvaro Parente/Fraser Ross (McLaren) 1:43.451s
3.Dominic Storey/Peter Hackett (Mercedes) 1:44.790s
4.Brad Shiels/Andrew Macpherson (Porsche) 1:45.218s
5.Jonny Reid/Neil Foster (Audi) 1:45.279s
6.Tony D'Alberto/Max Twigg (Mercedes) 1:46.504s
7.Steven Richards/Dylan O'Keeffe (BMW) 1:46.772s
8.Matt Whittaker/John Udy (Audi) 1:47.478s
9.Cameron McConville/Adrian Deitz (Lamborghini) 1:48.327s
10.Jaxon Evans/Tim Miles (Audi) No time set
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