Pacey Petr charges to Eurocup podium in Spain
Rising Czech racing star Petr Ptáček achieved his best finish yet in the Formula Renault Eurocup by claiming second place overall at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend.
The 16-year-old was on scintillating form around the Spanish circuit all weekend, qualifying strongly and fighting for podium places in both races.
“The weekend has been really strong,” Petr said. “The quali pace was there and so was the race pace, so I’m happy. Together with the Nürburgring at the start of this month, this has been the strongest weekend performance this year. I would say it is all coming together.”
Having qualified P4 for Race One on Saturday, the BhaiTech Racing driver made a perfect getaway, seizing P3 at Turn One and holding the position all the way to the chequered flag.
Unfortunately, Petr was subsequently handed a 15-second time penalty by race officials for contact through the opening corner. The penalty dropped him to P6 in the final classification.
“Quali 1 was okay – I was quite happy with the lap that I made,” he said. “Race 1 was good in terms of pace. Obviously the first turn was a bit scrappy. I was disappointed to get a penalty for really light contact as we all fought for position, but sometimes these things happen in motorsport and this is an experience I’ll learn from. P6 was still okay for me.”
On Sunday, Petr further improved his single-lap qualifying pace to claim P3 on the grid for Race Two.
“After what happened in the race on Saturday, I was determined to still be strong and finish the weekend on a high,” he said. “In the race, I took P2 from Alex Smolyarstraight away and after that it was a fun race. It was a little bit lonely at the beginning, because I thought Alex would stay with me, but after a few laps Oscar [Piastri] got past him.
“I was carefully watching my mirrors to see if Oscar was coming because he was really strong on the brakes into Turn One. For the rest of the lap, however, I was a little bit quicker because he was having to contend with the dirty air from the back of my car. It was good to finish the weekend in this way.”
As well as being the best result of his Formula Renault Eurocup career so far, and his first victory in the Rookie class, it was Petr’s third consecutive points finish, which has elevated him to P8 in the points standings with four races remaining.
“The points standings are less important to me because we aren’t in contention for the championship. My priority is to continue the development of myself and the team in the remaining two events,” he said.
Petr will take his positive momentum into the next Eurocup round at Hockenheim next weekend (5-6 October). He has previous knowledge of the German track, having raced there in the ADAC F4 Championship in 2018.
“Nobody in Formula Renault has tested at Hockenheim this season. On circuits where everyone starts from a level playing field in terms of car set-up, I’ve usually been pretty competitive,” said Petr.