Czech driver emerges as surprise gun in Toyota Racing Series practice
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Czech driver Petr Ptacek has topped Friday's Castrol Toyota Racing Series running at Hampton Downs after a chaotic day of testing for round three of the season.
Although the day was largely incident free, there was a spectacular roll-over in the opening session.
The crash took place at the Porsche Carousel; Swiss driver Axel Gnos flipping over following contact from Rui Andrade. After coming to a rest in the sand-trap the right way up, Gnos thankfully emerged uninjured.
Earlier in the day, Franco Colapinto (Argentina) and Lirim Zendeli (Germany) topped a session each, with Colapinto's form continuing into the final session where he ended up third behind Ptacek and GT Sport driver Igor Fraga of Brazil.
Behind Colapinto, Jackson Walls (Australia), Caio Collet (Brazil), Zendeli, Yuki Tsunoda (Japan), Spike Kohlbecker (USA), Gregoire Saucy (Switzerland) and Oliver Rasmussen (Denmark) completed the top 10 runners. The full field ended the day covered by just seven tenths of a second; Ptacek having set a 1:01.087.
Two spots outside the top 10 was series debutante Tijmen van der Helm. Having turned 16 last week, the Netherlands driver has subbed in for José Blanco at Kiwi Motorsport and will complete the remainder of the season.
The former Spanish and Dubai Formula 4 driver has impressed so far, having been as high as second during today's test running despite sitting out the opening two rounds.
Series leader Liam Lawson appeared to struggle during testing, having finished 17th, 13th, and 14th respectively across the three practice sessions. He currently sits 18 points ahead of Fraga in the standings.
Outside of the Toyota Racing Series, there was also drama in the GTRNZ GT3/4 category. After appearing to slide off on fluid from another car, Logan Childs rolled his former production-car series Mitsubishi Evolution IX at the final corner.
Toyota Racing Series qualifying kicks off tomorrow at 11.10am, with the opening race following at 3.45pm. Live coverage is available on Sky Sport 55.