Petr Ptacek left the penultimate round of the Formula Renault Eurocup empty-handed this weekend, despite his efforts to unlock the pace that was needed to break into the points.
The 18-year-old arrived at the penultimate round of the season in optimistic mood after a switch to MP Motorsport enabled him to score points in both races at Imola last week.
But his time in Germany proved much tougher.
Although the Sauber Academy driver emerged fifth fastest from one of Friday’s Collective Test sessions, Petr was unable to build on that result in Qualifying 1. That meant he started the opening race from P12 on the grid.
And Petr’s hopes of moving up the leader board were extinguished at Turn One when he received heavy contact from Ugo de Wilde as he attempted to seal a pass down the inside of his Belgian rival.
Petr, who retired at the end of the lap with suspension damage, said: “The car felt good during first qualifying but I made a couple of mistakes on my push lap and lost valuable time.
“Then the incident at the start of the race was disappointing. I felt I had the advantage but we touched. It’s an incident I will learn from.”
Having missed some crucial track time on Saturday, Petr fought to make an impression during Qualifying 2 on Sunday morning.
But an unexpected lack of grip meant the Czech driver completed the short session 16th quickest. Frustratingly, officials then put him to the back of the grid for Race 2, by virtue of a time penalty from Race 1.
Keen to end on a high, Petr gained three places at the start before taking another three places during the Safety Car-interrupted race. He completed the distance in P12.
“It’s tough when you’re starting from the back of the grid,” he said. “I was able to make some nice moves and get back six places, but there were no points which is what we wanted.”
The tenth and final round of the 2020 season will take Petr to Le Castellet Circuit in Southern France next weekend (13-15 November).
He said: “We need to work hard for Le Castellet so we can understand the issues and where I can improve. I’m on the sim and working with the team tomorrow to try and make the last round of the season a good one.”