Petr Ptacek is in confident mood heading into the sixth round of the Formula Renault Eurocup at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend.
The Sauber Academy driver’s hard work and determination secured an impressive return to form at Zandvoort in the Netherlands two weeks ago, with Petr scoring P4 and P6 finishes across both races.
This weekend, the 17-year-old will get back behind the wheel of his R-ace GP car at the home of F1’s Spanish Grand Prix – and he couldn’t wish for a better track at which to build on his recent point-scoring form.
“Last year at Barcelona I was really fast and I finished P6 and P2 in both of the Eurocup races,” he said. “The target this weekend is to be fighting for the podium again at a track I enjoy. I’m feeling ready and confident.”
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is located close to the sprawling city of Barcelona and the 4.62km lap that will greet Petr and his rivals features 16 turns.
The Czech driver completed his pre-race preparations on Tuesday when he drove a virtual version of the circuit aboard R-ace GP’s state-of-the-art simulator in France.
As usual, he’ll have a good amount of time during the pre-event collective tests on Thursday and Friday to get to grips with the circuit for real, before the first qualifying session gets underway on Saturday morning.
Petr is keen to make a fast start in Spain and he’s identified that tyre management will be particularly crucial during the all-important qualifying sessions and races that follow.
He said: “Barcelona is quite a strange track in terms of tyre wear. With the rubber we have, it’s all about controlling the temperature.
“There will need to be a strong focus on the tyres and not killing them in the opening laps. We have to find a good balance to make them fast for the duration of each session.”
Despite hitting an improved vein of form, Petr is not taking anything for granted this weekend. He knows continued hard work is required if he’s going to get the second half of his season off to a successful start.
“My aim is to keep improving step-by-step,” he explained. “Zandvoort was pretty decent from my side but there is still some pace to find.
“We have to keep our heads down, look at all of the data and work as hard as we can. That’s the only way forward.”
Petr’s weekend will start with Qualifying 1 at 08.45 on Saturday morning, a session that will decide the grid for Race 1 at 13.40 on the same day.
Qualifying 2 will get underway at 10.00 on Sunday, while Race 2 will go green at 14.55 that afternoon (CET).