A lack of grip and a clutch problem limited Petr Ptacek’s progress during the sixth round of the Formula Renault Eurocup at Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend.
The Sauber Academy driver, scorer of 18 points at Zandvoort two weeks earlier, had high hopes travelling to Spain and was given extra confidence knowing he had finished on the podium at the corresponding fixture in 2019.
However, the performance of his R-ace GP car was blighted by a frustrating lack of grip at the home of the Spanish Grand Prix.
“It was like driving on ice,” the 17-year-old explained. “There was no grip in the middle or on the exit of each corner and that made things very tricky.
“The team tried to find a solution but without success and I had the problem for almost the whole weekend.”
Battling a car with understeer, Petr qualified P14 for Saturday afternoon’s first race and his struggles continued in the torrential rain once the start lights were extinguished. He classified P15.
Petr’s fortunes were equally frustrating on Sunday. Having qualified P13 for the second race, despite encountering a clutch problem during the session, the youngster was forced into the pits at the end of the pre-race formation lap when the clutch issue presented itself again.
It was a cruel blow for the Czech driver who did eventually join the race – albeit two laps behind the rest of the field.
That meant the race effectively became an extra test session, giving Petr the opportunity to try a different set-up during the remaining laps.
“There were definite signs of improvement when I rejoined the track but the weekend was over long before then,” he said.
“Overall, it’s been a disappointing event. We have to investigate what went wrong so it doesn’t happen again.”
The iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium will host round seven of the Formula Renault Eurocup in two weeks’ time (22-25 October).