Hackett leads closely packed field in Sunshine State Showdown. Lamborghini Driver Peter Hackett may have endured the late arrival of his car to the circuit, clutch dramas and a lack of practice laps before today's qualifying session for the ...
Hackett leads closely packed field in Sunshine State Showdown.
Lamborghini Driver Peter Hackett may have endured the late arrival of his car to the circuit, clutch dramas and a lack of practice laps before today's qualifying session for the second round of the Speed Energy Drink Australian GT Championship, Porsche Drivers Challenge but it didn't stop the opening round winner from again showing his considerable talent, topping today's times to snare pole for the first race tomorrow morning.
The New South Wales based driver lead a competitive field of GT and Porsche sports cars in near perfect conditions at Ipswich' 3.12km Queensland Raceway, four manufacturers represented in the first four grid positions in a closely fought out 20 minute session this afternoon.
Hackett took his #5 Team Lamborghini Australia Diablo GTR to a best lap of 1m14.5315 to best opening round rival Bryce Washington by a scant three tenths of a second in what is increasingly becoming a tight battle between the man they call Hollywood and the Porsche Driver.
Hackett said that he was happy to score pole after enduring a difficult build up to the session.
"To be honest, im relieved that we have been able to score pole," he said. "We have had a troubled build up to today -- the car arrived late yesterday and we only managed to get five or six laps of practice in yesterdays sessions. Then today we had to change a clutch before the qualifying session so we are happy to be able to put the dramas behind us and take pole position for tomorrow."
Chasing the menacing black Lamborghini was the #54 Adrad Radiators Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car of South Australian youngster Bryce Washington, who's best time of 1m14.8332 narrowly missed the coveted pole position slot.
After finishing a strong second in the opening round of the championship a month ago at Phillip Island, Washington's strong qualifying effort bodes well for tomorrow, the Queensland track much more Porsche friendly when compared to the Islands flowing sweepers and straights.
"We could have gone faster," mused Washington after the session. "But I'm pretty happy overall with our performance. The car is pretty good around here -- we are faster than the Lamborghini in some places and get blown away in others but I think we have the pace to challenge it in tomorrow's races"
The third grid slot will be reserved tomorrow for the #20 Instant Foundations Brabham Honda NSX turbo of Ian Palmer, the Queenslander showing ever increasing pace to record a 1m15.9103 to shadow the Porsche and Lamborghini throughout today's session.
Palmer's attributed his stronger form at his home track to a number of technical changes instigated on the car since the opening round of the championship in late May.
"The car is certainly a lot better into, and through, corners after we put the Limited Slip Diff in," he the laconic Queenslander said. "I'm happy to be third, but im pretty certain that we could have got a low 1m15 second lap and been a bit closer to the front row. We just couldn't get a clean lap with the red flags and the traffic out there today -- but we are looking good for tomorrow!"
Fellow Queenslander John Teulan's #88 Industry Central Ferrari 360 Challenge took fourth place, ahead of the newly sponsored Quarterback #12 Porsche 911GT3RS of Mark Eddy and John Kaias' ABCOR GT3 Porsche who rounded out a competitive top six contenders.
First time racer Phillip Holzberger made his racing debut with a strong performance this afternoon, taking his 2002 Le Mans GT Class winner Porsche 911GT3 RS to a solid 8th position overall, his time of 1m16.93 less than a second outside of the top three leaving the novice driver in the middle of a very competitive group of cars.
12th overall went to the first of the "A" Class Porsche Drivers Challenge contenders, Russ Kempnich making the racing debut of his new GT3 Porsche with a strong performance to lead Max Twigg (13th) and Malcolm Lynn (14th) in the battle for Class A honours.
Don Tryhorn's trusty 964RS Porsche lead the Class B contenders (15th overall) in the Porsche Drivers' Challenge, leading home Garth Rainsbury and Matt Humphries.
Tomorrow's Speed Energy Drink Australian GT Championship, Porsche Drivers Challenge's second round will be made up of two, 17-lap races before a longer 20 lapper to round out the day's competition. Pole sitter Peter Hackett currently leads the series'; his strong round one showing giving him a handy margin over nearest rival Bryce Washington.
Tomorrow's first race gets underway at 9:35am Queensland time.