Czech rising star Petr Ptáček proved his front-running pace again this weekend, collecting a second podium and two more top five results during Round Four of the New Zealand-based Castrol Toyota Racing Series at Pukekohe Park.
After his first pole position and podium of the campaign at the preceding round at Hampton Downs, the 17-year-old maintained his competitive momentum with a strong weekend of racing at the 2.91km-long circuit in the country’s North Island.
Petr qualified P5 for Race 1 in his mtec Motorsport engineered by R-Ace GP car but started the race from P16 after a grid sanction. Undaunted by the setback, Petr got his head down and carved his way through the field to P5, gaining 11 spots in the final classification.
“Race 1 turned out to be more positive than I had expected,” explained the MindMaze-backed driver. “I started P16 and managed to get P8 on track, and with other penalties I was P5. I made some overtakes, and I was able to make passes and get places from a bad starting position, so that was positive for me and the team and I was quite happy.
”The finishing order of the top six from Race 1 was reversed to determine the starting line-up for Race Two, meaning Petr lined up from P2.
During the race, Petr, who is supported by Parmigiani Fleurier and Autodrom Most, was embroiled in a race-long scrap for victory before consolidating his starting position to pick up more silverware.
He said: “I started second, finished second – so it was pretty simple and straightforward! I feel like I could have done a better job on the start but after that there was nothing else I could have done differently.
”In the second qualifying session, which established the grid for the weekend’s 25-lap feature race, Petr secured P6, having battled an engine glitch during the closing stages of the session. Petr made up one spot in the race by classifying P5.
“It was a bit disappointing to have the engine issue, though as a driver you cannot change it,” reflected the youngster. “I started P6, and finished P5, which was quite okay.”
Petr holds P6 in the Drivers’ Championship, having amassed 185 points. The fifth and final round of the Toyota Racing Series takes place at Manfeild: Circuit Chris Amon next weekend (14 – 16 February).
Petr said: “We have one round left, and I’m going all in, I want to score the poles,and really get the results the team and I deserve. I will do my maximum, and hopefully we can round off the season strongly.”