Czech racing driver Petr Ptacek overcame challenging conditions to twice finish in the points during a rain-hit Formula Renault Eurocup event at Hockenheim this weekend.
Inclement weather added extra drama as Petr raced at the home of the German Grand Prix for only the second time in his career, but the BhaiTech Racing driver continued his recent run of strong qualifying performances and points finishes.
The 16-year-old qualified P7 for Saturday’s first race, lapping the 4.57km circuit in 1m 56.858s during a disrupted session held in treacherously wet conditions. The track had dried by the time the race got underway, but the MindMaze-supported driver was soon aware of a technical issue that was compromising his pace.
“It wasn’t such a great race. I held my grid position in the early stages, but an intermittent issue with the turbocharger robbed me of top-end speed at the end of the main straight and that made it difficult to move forward or defend my position,” said Petr, who had to be content with P10 at the chequered flag.
Determined to make amends in Race 2 on Sunday, podium finisher Petr qualified P6 in a session that was held in dry conditions. However, he was left rueing a small set-up error that potentially cost him a chance of being even higher on the starting grid.
“We made a mistake with the tyre pressures, and they were a lot higher than on my team-mate’s car. Even though we improved our times at the end of the session when the track was at its quickest, for me it was by only 0.1s, whereas my team-mate went 0.7s faster, which shows the speed was there. Ultimately, we qualified P6, so the position wasn’t that bad, but nothing spectacular,” Petr explained.
Conditions once again deteriorated during the afternoon and organisers decided to start the final race of the weekend behind the safety car. When the pack was unleashed to go racing in earnest, Petr held station in P6 until an unfortunate spin in the middle of the race dropped him down the order.
“It wasn’t the best race ever,” he said. “The conditions were very difficult. We’d made changes to the set-up at the rear of the car, but I found that I had less traction. I was trying to leave my braking later but completely lost the rear, ran wide off the track and had a spin.”
A subsequent safety car period closed the field back up and meant that Petr didn’t lose too much time. He rejoined the track in P13 and charged hard to recover to P9 and secure his fifth consecutive points-scoring finish.
“I could be happier with the way the weekend went,” Petr concluded. “Although at least some points were gained, it was difficult. But I’ve already identified some things that I could do better. I will learn from these races and use the experience to my benefit in the future.”
Petr’s inaugural Formula Renault Eurocup season will reach its conclusion at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on 24-26 October.