Petr Ptacek claimed his first podium in the Formula Renault Eurocup this weekend, charging to P3 at Silverstone during only his third race in the new-look single-seater category.
The 16-year-old, racing at the British circuit for the first time, laid the foundations for success by qualifying P6, his best starting position to date, for the first race of the weekend on Saturday.
The BhaiTech Racing driver made a strong start to run P4, despite having ventured off the track and over the kerbs in avoidance of a rival. He moved up to P3 on lap two and brought his Rich Energy-liveried car home in that position, after briefly running P2 during the race.
“We had a decent speed throughout qualifying and the race, so I was happy with the result, even though I made a few mistakes, such as running wide at Becketts Corner, that cost me P2,”the rising star from the Czech Republic said.
“After the race the engineers told me that I had broken the suspension on the opening lap, when I had been forced wide and launched over the kerbs at Club Corner. In light of that, I was happy with a podium.”
In qualifying for race two on Sunday morning, Parmigiani Watches-supported Petr finished P11 around the 5.90km circuit.
“Compared to Saturday, our rivals managed to improve their pace much more than we did,”he explained. “We didn’t quite have the right set-up to suit the track and weather conditions. That’s something myself and the team can learn from.”
Despite making up two places at the start, Petr’s prospect of another points-scoring finish were hampered when he was forced onto the grass on the opening lap.
“Another competitor didn’t leave me room as we went side-by-side through Maggotts and Becketts,”he explained. “I was left with the choice of either running wide or having a collision. I went wide through the gravel and dropped from P9 to last.
“After that I made some good overtaking moves and finished P15, although it’s not easy to make progress around Silverstone because in these cars you lose downforce when you try to follow others too closely through the corners.
“All in all, it was a mixed weekend. But we take the positive: we had a podium in only our third race in Formula Renault Eurocup. Now we need to work on anticipating how track conditions can change and affect the car during each track session. I will visit the BhaiTech Racing factory this week to study the data and do a session in the simulator.
“Myself and the team are learning all the time and if we can put everything together and don’t over-push, I’m confident we can be battling for top-fives, podiums and perhaps even wins in the future.”
Petr’s form at Silverstone has moved him up to P10 in the Formula Renault Eurocup points standings. His next outing will be at the iconic Monaco street circuit on 23-26 May.