Petr Ptacek finished both of this weekend’s Formula Renault Eurocup races at Spa-Francorchamps, but was unable to unlock enough pace to break into the point-scoring positions.
A mixed bag of weather conditions greeted the 18-year-old at the home of the Belgian Grand Prix but the set-up of Petr’s R-ace GP car didn’t give him confidence during the all-important qualifying sessions.
A lack of grip made progress difficult, meaning he lined up in unfamiliar territory – P14 for Race 1 on Friday and P17 for Race 2 on Saturday morning.
Unfortunately, torrential rain prompted race officials to stop the opening race early as visibility and on-track conditions rapidly deteriorated.
It was a disappointing outcome for Sauber Academy driver Petr who had used a set-up that was more to his liking to move up to P13 when the red flags were flown after only four laps.
“The car was working better for Race 1 and I was making good progress,” the Czech driver explained. “So when the race was stopped, it was pretty frustrating and an opportunity missed.”
The outcome of Race 2 was decided on tyre choice. And it was a gamble for the entire field. On a wet-but-drying track, Petr opted to start on slicks.
However, the track didn’t dry as quickly as he’d hoped and it was those that chose wet rubber that ultimately profited. Petr made up four positions to come home P13 again – just outside the points.
“There was no right or wrong tyre choice before the race. It was a gamble, so I’m not disappointed about our strategy,” Petr said.
“If there had been a safety car, the field would have bunched up and then I’d have been on much better tyres for the run to the end. But that’s motor racing. The margins are very small.”
With a disappointing weekend in Belgium put firmly behind him, Petr has already turned his attention to next weekend’s eighth round of the season at Imola in Italy.
“I’m already targeting Imola. That’s a track where I want to perform. I know I can do well and I have confidence,” he said.