Petr Ptacek made an impressive start to his single-seater racing career in Abu Dhabi this week as he battled his way to a pair of podium finishes at the first round of the F4 UAE Championship.
The KZ2 karting graduate linked up with Rasgaira Motorsports at the Yas Marina Circuit as he made his racing debut in the F4 category. He competed in four races as part of his preparations for the 2018 Italian F4 Championship with BhaiTech Racing.
After getting a feel for the 5.55km Yas Marina track – the venue for F1’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – during three test sessions, 15-year-old Petr went straight into qualifying on Thursday afternoon and promptly put his #9 car on P5 for the opening 14-lap race that was held under the cover of darkness that evening.
Petr showed himself to be a confident performer in his first F4 race as he finished P6 and set the second fastest time of the all-action race with an impressive 2m 14.506s lap.
Friday morning’s second race was even more positive for Petr as he stormed his was to P3 – despite picking up a frustrating 10-second time penalty for not lining up quite inside his grid box before the start lights were extinguished.
Petr then finished P4 in the penultimate race of the weekend, before he claimed his second podium in Abu Dhabi with another impressive drive to P3 in the final 14-lap encounter.
“It’s been an enjoyable weekend and I’m pleased that I managed to get a couple of podiums during my first F4 race weekend,” Petr explained. “Once I found my confidence, I managed to pull off some really cool moves and there was plenty of wheel-to-wheel racing to enjoy on the track.
“F4 racing is quite different to what I’ve been used to in karts and I was giving away a lot of experience to the other drivers on the grid who all had at least one season of single-seater racing behind them already. That was a bit of a disadvantage but it just made me work harder to deliver the results that I wanted.”
With the first F4 UAE Championship round now successfully behind him, Petr has confirmed he will return to the series in the new year to take part in a further two rounds of competitive action. He believes the experience will greatly improve his preparations for the Italian F4 Championship which is his primary racing focus next season.
He added: “We’ll be coming back for another couple of rounds because there are some things I want to improve and I can only achieve those steps by gaining more experience in a competitive situation. There are plenty of things we can carry forward from the first round that will make us even more competitive in the future races. That’s an exciting prospect for me.”
Petr’s big for racing success in 2018 is proudly supported by Eterna Watches, OMP Racing, Bell Helmets and Xeramic.