Petr Ptacek Jr resumes his Italian F4 Championship campaign at Imola this weekend (27-29 July) – and the youngster is hoping he can secure his first outright victory in the series.
The 15-year-old is eager to get back behind the wheel of his BhaiTech Racing car after the Italian series’ six-week summer break and he’s keen to build on his impressive hat-trick of overall podiums during the races he contested at Misano in June.
“I’m feeling good ahead of this round. Like every race weekend, I’m just remaining calm and not getting too stressed about it,” he explained. “I’ve got the same goal I’ve had for the season – standing on the top step of the podium. I think that could be possible at Imola.”
Almost every track on the Italian F4 Championship calendar has been a new experience for Petr during his first season of single-seater competition. But the 4.90km ‘Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari’ in Imola provides an extra challenge this weekend because of its “strange” characteristics.
Petr said: “Imola is a totally different circuit to Misano. It’s quite strange because it has a mix of long straights and slow corners. It’s important to find a compromise when setting up the car so you get a balance between good speed on the straights and not losing out too much in the corners.
“That also affects the driving style as well because you need to make sure you get a good run through the corners to carry speed onto the straights. If you don’t, it gives the drivers behind you a good chance to overtake.”
The Corum Watches-backed driver arrives at the fifth round of the Italian F4 season on a high – leading the Rookie Cup standings by 72 points and sitting fourth in the overall championship.
Petr’s confident he can maintain his lead in the support category standings, as well as secure more points in the main championship where he is just 37 points behind the third-place driver.
His hopes of a strong performance and securing his first Italian F4 pole at Imola have been boosted by a positive two-day test at the northern Italian circuit last week where he bettered the times set by one of his more experienced team-mates.
He said: “It can be tricky to see how you compare to the other drivers because you don’t know what they’re doing with their own testing programmes. However, when I was faster than my team-mate on the second day, I knew what he was doing and that gave me some confidence for the races this weekend.”
Petr will tackle three F4 races at Imola. The first is on Saturday afternoon with the remaining two on Sunday.