Rising Czech star Petr Ptacek bounced back from a difficult qualifying to score more Formula Renault Eurocup points in dramatic style at the Hungaroring this weekend.
The scene for Petr’s charge was set in qualifying, held on a damp-but-drying circuit earlier in the day. He found himself restricted to P15 on the grid after he caught a slower car at a crucial point of his flying lap.
The 16-year-old said: “Qualifying was pretty bad. On the last flying lap of the session I really needed a clean lap because the circuit was drying out. At the start of that lap I left what I thought was a good gap of about 300m to the car in front, but by Turn Four I had already caught him.
“I lost time in the middle sector, which is crucial to a good lap, and didn’t manage to improve by much. It’s difficult to say how much we lost; I don’t think we quite had the pace to be top four, but P5 or P6 was possible.”
The BhaiTech Racing driver made a perfect start to the race and cleverly hugged the inside line at Turn One, ensuring he avoided a multi-car accident occurring on the outside of the corner. He emerged in P7, and maintained that position until the end.
“The comeback in the race was quite good. I’ve never made such a perfect start in the Formula Renault Eurocup car. I just nailed it, then I stuck the car up the inside of Turn One on the kerb. It’s the kind of thing I used to do in KZ karting – I was quite happy with that,” he said.
“Before the race, my engineer and I thought it might be possible to make up a maximum of two or three positions at the start. We thought getting one championship point from the race would be possible, so to get up to P7 was a great feeling.”
On Saturday, Petr had experienced disappointment in qualifying. In the morning, a technical issue left his MindMaze-sponsored car down on power, and left him unable to set a representative lap time around the 4.38km circuit.
He lined up P19 on the grid for Race One, which started behind the safety car due to torrential rain. After 12 minutes, with track conditions showing no sign of improving, the race was abandoned, meaning Petr was classified P16.
The Parmigiani Fleurier-supported driver’s focus now turns to the next Formula Renault Eurocup event at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain on 27-29 September.
“Our position in the championship and in the races make things look worse than they actually are,” he said. “Now I need to think about the approach I am going to take for the remaining races. I have to find a way to be quick straight away in the first free practice session without making any mistakes with the car’s set-up.
“We’ve tested at Barcelona with the car and it could be a nice event for me, but as usual qualifying will be absolutely crucial.”