Czech racer Petr Ptacek left the Nürburgring in a positive mood today after registering one of his strongest Formula Renault Eurocup performances of the season.
The front-running pace he showed at the German circuit has given the 16-year-old the confidence he believes he needs to make a strong finish to his rookie season in the category.
After a difficult opening Free Practice session on Friday, Petr and his BhaiTech Racing engineers made some effective changes to his MindMaze-supported car’s set-up.
“I struggled for pace in Free Practice 1, but from FP2 onwards we found a good direction with the car. After that we were always inside the top five in terms of pace,” Petr said. “I was happy with the way the car progressed during the weekend and I think our results show we went in the right direction.”
Belying his lack of experience on the Nürburgring’s 5.14-mile track layout, Petr qualified P3 for Race One on Saturday. It was his best qualifying performance of the season so far – but unfortunately he was unable to take full advantage.
Saturday’s race was held in rising temperatures and an overheating clutch prevented Petr from leaving the line cleanly. He therefore fell towards the back of the pack, eventually finishing P11.
It didn’t take Petr long to put that disappointment behind him, though. On Sunday morning the Parmigiani Fleurier-supported driver seized P4 on the grid for Race Two.
He made a strong start to the race, immediately jumping up to P3. For the duration of the race, Petr was embroiled in a battle for a place on the lower two steps of the podium.
“The first part of the race was really good and I was the second-fastest car on the track. I was particularly quick in the final sector of the lap,” he explained.
“For the last five laps, however, I was fighting too much with a lack of grip from the rear tyres, especially when accelerating out of corners. I began to lose a lot of time and I had nothing to give when Caio [Collet] drove around the outside of me to take the position.
“Finishing P5 was an unfortunate end to the race, but in general this weekend went well. I earned some good points and I’m really confident that we can mount a strong challenge at each of the remaining four events. We can really build on this performance,” he said.
Petr’s focus now turns to the seventh Formula Renault Eurocup event of the season at the Hungaroring in Hungary next weekend (6-8 September).
“It’s really good for me that we race again straight away, because I can carry this momentum to the Hungaroring. I feel positive that I can again achieve good results,” he concluded.