Rookie Petr Ptacek completed his 2019 Castrol Toyota Racing Series campaign this weekend – and the 16-year-old believes he can take some valuable learning from his experiences in the New Zealand-based championship.
The fifth and final round of the single-seater series was held at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon, close to Palmerston. Despite showing strong pace in the pre-event practice sessions, Petr’s Giles Motorsport car wasn’t as fast as he would have liked in qualifying and that set the tone for his weekend.
A promising start to the Czech driver’s first race was abruptly ended when he was pushed off the track by another spinning car as he ran on the edge of the top-ten. Race two returned a P12 finish, while the final race of the season brought a second retirement after Petr was edged onto the grass at Turn 7.
Petr’s results at the final round allowed him to finish P4 in the Rookie Championship and extended his points haul in the main standings to 123.
Reflecting on his winter racing programme in New Zealand, Petr was disappointed he could only secure one podium finish in the series. But he felt he was rarely able to show his true pace during a campaign that was affected by persistent mechanical problems (relating to his car’s suspension and an engine misfire).
The reigning Italian F4 Rookie Cup Champion said: “It’s been a fantastic experience to race in New Zealand but it’s been a tough programme at times.
“Sure, I made some mistakes as I learned a new car and a whole series of unknown tracks. But numerous suspension breakages and engine misfires definitely didn’t help my progress.
“It was pretty frustrating because those issues made it hard to establish the consistency and momentum that’s crucial in a five-round championship.”
With his New Zealand racing adventure now at an end, Petr is determined to take the positives from his winter campaign and use them to his advantage during his 2019 European racing programme.
“I’m a big believer that some things happen for a reason and it’s important to learn from your experiences,”the Parmigiani Watches-supported driver explained. “If you look at all the top drivers in motorsport, they’ve all had moments of frustration and disappointment. But they’ve turned those negatives into positives.
“That’s what I’m determined to do during the season ahead.”