Allan Sargeant ticked off his first-ever car race at the opening round of the Golden Homes North Island Endurance Series at Hampton Downs over the weekend where he was greeted by a baptism of fire.
Behind the wheel of his recently purchased Seat Leon Supercopa, Sargeant geared up his debut car race amongst a highly competitive one-hour grid.
Ahead of the race, he joked that just starting will be an achievement, let alone finishing.
Quickly getting to grips with the new car in Friday practice, Sargeant qualified a respectable 28th before bringing the car home second in class and 16th overall. A commendable result for a rookie of the field.
But his weekend wasn’t without its own set of troubles.
“What a baptism of fire the weekend was,” Sargeant told Velocity News.
“The car was a little down on horsepower, and I didn’t get a good lap in during qualifying. So, I was a little further back on the grid in 28th than I wanted to be and where the car should have been.
“And then, my first rookie mistake. I didn’t line up in the right grid position at the race start, which resulted in me sitting almost last and not exactly sure how to move up during the start sequence.
“My start was not good either, as I totally stuffed that up and got shuffled back to last.
“But I wasn‘t too concerned being at the back of the field on the first lap,” he added. “It allowed me to settle in for a few laps and then start the fight to get past some slower cars.
“The guys at Racelab gave me excellent advice, and I just needed to concentrate and settle into a rhythm and look out for the fast guys coming behind me.
“Being a rookie, I gave them plenty of room so that I didn’t hinder their result.
“The race flew by quicker than I imagined and, in the end, I was stoked to finish 2nd in Class 2 and to bring the car home in one piece.
“A fantastic result for me and the Racelab team on my first outing.”
With the next round of the championship at Pukekohe Park next month also doubling as the series finale, Sargeant says the lessons learnt over the weekend will all need to be considered to maximise the result at the Auckland venue.
The weekend will also see the long-awaited return of the traditional Pukekohe circuit which features its full-length back straight.
Despite his horsepower woes at Hampton Downs, Sargeant also ensured the team at Race Lab should have their mechanical dramas rectified in time for the next race.
“Now, with my first race out of the way and some very valuable lessons learned, other competitors should be on notice for the next round.
“I’m a fast learner and won’t make the same mistakes.
“I’m planning on being a little more aggressive in the start and in overtaking.
“I’ve never driven the Pukekohe circuit, so the Friday practice will be another first for me.
“The car should have the horsepower restored and be a little faster out of the corners and in a straight line.”
The final round of the North Island Endurance Series will be held at Pukekohe Park over October 23-24.