It’s been a month of hard work for US driver Spike Kohlbecker but reward is always sweet. Having spent the last four weekends trying to break into the top ten in qualifying, the St Louis teenager placed third fastest in Saturday’s qualifying session for the opening race of the 2020 Castrol Toyota Racing Series at Circuit Chris Amon Manfeild.
“It’s unbelievable,” commented Kohlbecker. “I haven’t worked this hard in racing forever. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done and the greatest thing I have ever done.”
Again qualifying has proved to be very close with less than 0.8 seconds covering the top 18 drivers. The key has been to find those extra two-tenths.
“Well yesterday George my engineer said whoever sleeps well tonight will be on top tomorrow so I got a good sleep and thought about the things he taught me. I really pushed it in the last turn and that’s where I found my time.”
“I’m getting there. Its been a difficult journey and its why we came here. I’m just now starting to get used to the car.”
It sounds as though Kohlbecker can find even more time.
“The plan for the race is to put my head down and keep pushing. It would be great to get a podium.”
The opening 20-lap race of the NZ Grand Prix weekend gets underway this afternoon at 15:32.
1/ Franco Colapinto 01:03.185
2/ Igor Fraga 01:03.337
3/ Spike Kohlbecker 01:03.371
4/ Liam Lawson 01:03.385
5/ Tijmen van der Helm 01:03.413
6/ Caio Collet 01:03.436
7/ Gregoire Saucy 01:03.471
8/ Lucas Petersson 01:03.506
9/ Petr Ptacek 01:03.516
10/ Jackson Walls 01:03.629
11/ Yuki Tsunoda 01:03.639
12/ Oliver Rasmussen 01:03.654
13/ Ido Cohen 01:03.680
14/ Emilien Denner 01:03.699
15/ Henning Enqvist 01:03.773
16/ Lirim Zendeli 01:03.845
17/ Axel Gnos 01:03.917
18/ Rui Andrade 01:03.974
19/ Kenny Smith 01:04.618