Petr Ptacek Jr claimed his first outright Formula 4 victory and a maiden pole position after a dominant weekend in the F4 Spain Championship at Valencia.
The Czech driver was on the pace from the first test session on Friday afternoon as he led the field in his Formula de Campeones car.
His speed and confidence at Circuit Ricardo Tormo continued into qualifying as he achieved one of his main objectives for the season – claiming pole position. He was denied a second pole after his lap time in the first session was deleted for exceeding track limits.
“I’m really happy to get the first pole position with the fastest lap time of the weekend,” Petr explained. “I know how important it is to get a pole position in F4. If you don’t get a good start it is tough to overtake and it can affect the races.”
Starting P2 for Saturday’s 26-minute race, a small jump start – the legacy of a minor clutch problem – led to Petr being given a drive-through penalty. Rather than use up a set of tyres, his team decided to retire the 15-year-old from the race and save some valuable rubber for Sunday’s pair of races.
It was a strategy that paid off as Petr secured his first podium in F4 Spain with P2 in Sunday’s opening encounter. Losing out after his rival on the front-row got a marginally better start, Petr set the second-fastest lap of the race but couldn’t quite steal the lead.
“Once you are behind someone on this track it is really hard to overtake. You get a lot of understeer following another car and there aren’t as many passing opportunities so it can be a struggle,” the Corum Watches-backed driver explained.
In the final race of the weekend, a great start from pole position allowed Petr to quickly establish a gap to the chasing pack and he didn’t come under any pressure as he took his first win in the F4 category.
Petr said: “I’m delighted to get my first victory in F4. During the race, I was focused on setting consistently quick laps and after three laps I managed to break the slipstream to the drivers behind. I was just watching the delta time on my steering wheel and using that as a target to stay consistent.
“The confidence I had this weekend is something I’ve had at all the races this year, and I’m pleased that I’ve managed to use that to take the win this weekend. It was great to have some help and support from one of my Italian engineers who came to Valencia with me.
“My aim is to keep the momentum going during the next round of the Italian F4 Championship in Imola at the end of July.” [27-29 July]
Petr’s next competitive outing will be at the third round of the Spain F4 Championship in Portimao, Portugal on 6-7 July.