Petr Ptacek Jr claimed a trio of overall podiums – and a clean sweep of Rookie Cup wins – during the fourth round of the Italian F4 Championship at Misano this weekend.
The Czech driver headed to the Adriatic circuit on a high after demonstrating his front-running pace at Monza earlier this month. His confidence was given a further boost by a successful pre-event test at the 4.2km track, allowing Petr to fine-tune his car’s set-up ahead of the race weekend.
His slick preparation immediately paid off as the 15-year-old secured the best qualifying result of his season with P2 out of 28 cars for race one – just 0.036s off pole position. He then followed that up by securing a pair of P4 starts for Sunday’s races.
“I missed out on pole in both sessions which was annoying,” the Corum Watches-backed driver explained. “On the other hand, P2 is still my best result of the season and I’m feeling a lot better about my qualifying performances. My aim for the next round is to take pole position, it’s a big target for this season.”
Petr made his grid position count during Saturday’s opening 30-minute race. Getting a fast start from the front row, he quickly slotted in behind the race leader going into turn one. Despite being unable to exactly match his rival’s pace, he impressively opened up a gap to the chasing pack and comfortably finished in P2, securing his first overall podium in the Italian F4 series and a fourth Rookie Cup win of the season.
“I was generally happy with the race and it’s good to get another Rookie Cup win. I seemed to be losing a bit of speed on the straights to [race winner] Enzo Fittipaldi. I don’t know why because I was running quite a low downforce set-up. That’s something to look at in the future,” Petr explained.
Sunday morning’s first race was another illustration of how quickly Petr has adjusted to the F4 category. He made another fantastic getaway from the line in his BhaiTech Racing car to gain a position at the start.
As the race developed, Petr was lapping faster than his more experienced team-mate who filled P2 just ahead. Petr applied heavy pressure and his pace eventually told as he squeezed through, courtesy of a great late-braking manoeuvre just before the mid-way point of the race.
P2 also gave Petr his second Rookie win of the weekend and his impressive all-round performance was topped off by him setting the fastest lap of the race with a 1:35.490 tour of Misano.
Petr rounded off the best weekend of his fledgling F4 career with more success in the final race. After losing a position at the start, he stayed patient and fought hard to reclaim two places – and secure a hat-trick of outright podiums and Rookie Cup wins.
Petr’s success at Misano has moved him up to fourth in the drivers’ championship and his impressive haul of six Rookie Cup wins for the season means he now leads the support category standings by 72 points.
The fifth round of the Italian F4 Championship will be held at Imola on 28-29 July.