MTEC Motorsport by R-ace GP driver Petr Ptacek has claimed pole position for Race 1 of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.
It’s the first time the 17-year-old from the Czech Republic will start from top spot. A restrained Ptacek said he was happy to claim his first pole position.
“This whole weekend we haven’t had any issues with the car, and I’ve been able to complete all of the sessions compared to the previous weekend,”he said.
“It’s given me extra confidence. The team has done a great job, we knew we had the pace for the top three. P1 was difficult because we knew Liam was hiding. I followed him in qualifying and got a good run.
“The lap I did was on the edge, I’m happy for the team and happy for myself. It feels like I didn’t do anything different compared to the previous races, I’ll just keep improving and keep working on my weak points.”
The opening stanza of the 15-minute session saw the times quickly tumble from the 64-second bracket down to the low 61-second marker.
Franco Colapinto of Argentina was the first to go under a 62-second lap with a 61.849 in the leading Kiwi Motorsport entry.
Emilien Denner (France) and Igor Fraga (Brazil) were both quick to eclipse the effort by Colapinto. Initially, it looked like Fraga would be the man to beat as he edged closer and closer to the 60-second bracket.
In among the front runners was Caio Collet (Brazil), Liam Lawson and Ptacek. Oliver Rasmussen (Denmark), Jackson Walls (Australia) and Spike Kohlbecker (USA) all looked threatening.
Lawson briefly went to the top of the timesheets on a 60.927 but that was quickly beaten by Fraga with a 60.954.
With only seconds left in the session, Ptacek managed to beat them both on a 60.896. Moments later, Lawson managed to edge himself onto the front row and claim second spot with a 60.929.
Fraga was third, just 0.058s away from pole position. Fourth was Collet and Rasmussen the big surprise in fifth.
Walls, Colapinto, Lirim Zendeli, Yuki Tsunoda and Gregoire Saucy completed the top 10 running order. A mere 0.342s covered the top half of the field.
Race 1 of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series gets underway at 3:15 pm local time.
Castrol Toyota Racing Series, Qualifying 1
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