Rising Czech racing star Petr Ptáček celebrated his first experience of the majestic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps by finishing in the Formula Renault Eurocup points at the Belgian circuit this weekend.
Returning to the cockpit of his BhaiTech Racing car after an eight-week break in the Formula Renault Eurocup action, Petr belied his lack of prior experience of the challenging 7km track by qualifying inside the top ten for both races.
From P10 on the grid in Race One, the 16-year-old rocketed up to P6 at the start and briefly ran as high as P5 before settling for P7 at the chequered flag. He also earned P3 in the Rookie classification.
“To finish in the points was positive,” said Petr, whose 2019 campaign is supported by Parmigiani Fleurier, Mindmaze and Rich Energy.
“Race One was nice and we collected some good points. The feeling I had with the car seemed much better here at Spa than it was last time out at Paul Ricard, which is positive for the rest of the season.
“It was a challenging weekend because I had never competed at Spa before. In practice and qualifying I had to adapt really quickly, which was quite difficult, and all the time we were experimenting with new set-ups. I think we did a decent job to be inside the top ten. There are some aspects of qualifying that I need to work on, but overall I’m quite pleased with how the weekend went.”
Petr lined up P9 for Race Two and again made an impressive launch to move up to P7, but he lost track position due to contact with a rival during the middle of the race and was eventually classified P14.
“Race Two wasn’t perfect; during a battle for position I was pushed wide and gained a position off the track. As I tried to give the position back, the guy closed the door on me. We touched, he spun and I lost ground, but I was able to continue,” he explained.
“I’m happy, but not completely satisfied with the job I’ve done this weekend, so my objective for the next race weekend is to focus on eliminating any mistakes. Our pace in sector two of the Spa lap was strong, but we were missing a little top-end speed on the straights in sectors one and three, which made overtaking difficult,” he said.
The next event takes place at the Nürburgring, Germany (30 August-1 September) and Petr is feeling optimistic as the Formula Renault Eurocup season moves into its second half.
“Spa was completely new to me, but I have prior experience of the Nürburgring, so myself and the team should be able to hit the ground running there. If I can work hard in the simulator during the next few weeks and then get qualifying right at the Nürburgring, I’m confident we will be in a strong position,” he said.