After Race 6, Petr Fulín took the lead of the Octavia Cup series

Petr Fulín is glad after winning the race at the Most circuit
- 10. 8. 2008, Most -

The third round of the Octavia Cup series was orchestrated solely by one conductor, Petr Fulín, who was backed up by his VEKRA-ČSMS orchestra featuring the following members of the staff: Dan Skalický, Laura Hájková, and Tiki Ivoševič.

The Česká pojišťovna Škoda Octavia Cup series' contestants met after a longer break at the Most circuit, a technically demanding track, which poses a great challenge to the driver's skills and tests the car's endurance to the limits. Right away in the first practice, Petr took the first place and proved to have a good chance of success. The results of the other drivers suggest that the contest was very tight. More than ten of them were within one second behind the leader. Dan, Tiki and Laura kept pace with Petr, and so we could say that this was a very fine step forward after the holidays. 'There is still a lot to do. However, we are satisfied with the results,' Petr revealed after the Friday session.

Saturday's program included another free practice session and the qualifying. Dan and Laura were still trying to get accustomed to the circumstances, while Tiki improved his performance considerably, having approached his personal best. We can say that the differences between the individual drivers even decreased, and everyone was anxious about the results of the qualifying. Petr, in the end, was surpassed by Jan Dostál. This was due to the fact that Petr and his mechanics were too busy to pay attention to the practice.

That is, the practice started with a rather strange event. Petr, who always fully concentrates his efforts on his goal, got into the prepared car with the engine running, and set out on the track. There was a trouble, however. He omitted the usual procedure that a driver should observe before leaving the pits. He just came to the car, got into the cockpit, fastened the belts and set out. The chief mechanic and the rest of the team in the adjacent pit watched his ride and could not believe their eyes. But it was too late to stop him. The consequences were inevitable. The bonnet, which had not been secured, opened up right away in the warm-up lap, and shattered the windscreen of Peter's car. So, Petr returned to the pits and, after the damage to the car had been assessed, resolved to go on with the practice. Needless to say that he clocked an excellent time immediately and took the lead. But he decided to withdraw from the session to give the mechanics enough time to replace the windscreen. So, towards the end of the practice, when the track was drying up, Jan Dostál surpassed Petr by 0.076 seconds.

The qualifying saw Petr's car with a new windscreen. By setting an excellent lap time, Peter took the lead immediately, and returned to the pits thereafter. Laura, Dan and Tiki started the qualifying with optimally adjusted cars. Dan and Laura performed in a steady manner, setting times that put them in the middle of the field. Tiki proved that his performance is on the rise. His very fast lap earned him a position he could only have dreamed about a short time ago. So, the team were satisfied with the qualifying results. Only Dan was a bit sad, on account of the penalty from Brno, which detracted five spots from his grid placing from the qualifying. We should also note that the difference between the 8th and 14th spots was just three tenths of a second.

The team devised a simple strategy for Sunday's Race 1: 'As soon as the starting lights go off, just go, as quickly as possible!' We can say that Petr applied this rule literally, by winning from pole position. No one had the remotest chance to attack him. He also clocked the fastest lap time of the race, comparable with the qualifying times of his rivals. The situation of the rest of the quartet was not so simple, by no means. It is very difficult to make a good start from the middle of the grid. A driver in the middle of the grid must have luck on his side. The gashes on the cars of the other team drivers suggested that the start and the actual race were pretty tough. Laura came twelfth, ahead of Dan, who had been given the five-spot grid penalty. Tiki was sixteenth. 'This is the best possible result. We were capable of reaching better placings, but we got stuck behind slower drivers. On this type of track, with battles raging in groups of drivers, overtaking manoeuvres are very difficult. And, the battles on the track? It was pretty tough, not to my liking,' Dan revealed after the race. Tiki, right after the start, was confronted with the harsh reality of the fierce contests and with a hesitation of one of his rivals: The home straight, though generously dimensioned, is not wide enough to accommodate four cars running side by side. This was Tiki's situation before he ran off the track. Fortunately, his car was not damaged, and Tiki joined the race again, trying to close the gap. This was worth the trouble, as his final placing suggests. Laura had her car damaged right after the start, as she got caught up in the same collision. She really had to exert her efforts to the utmost to earn her placing.

The course of the second race was very dramatic. Dan, unfortunately, had to retire in the middle of Lap 1 due to the failure of the gear-shifting mechanism, a consequence of the fierce attacks of his rivals. It looked like Dan had been bedevilled by bad luck throughout the whole weekend. The only team driver who managed to apply the devised strategy was Petr. After the starting lights had gone off, it was his car that set the pace on the track. In the sultry weather, he surpassed his rivals in a fantastic manner. His lap times were by up to one second faster than those of his rivals. 'The car was running in a fantastic manner. I would like to thank the mechanics and the entire team for their excellent work,' said Petr in the start and finish area, glowing with pleasure after the race. Needless to say that his was the fastest lap of the race. Laura and Tiki had to struggle their way through a cluster of cars. Consequently, they lost pace and fell behind the front of the race. Laura won this battle in the end, but the standings, in fact, had been determined in the meantime. Newcomer Tiki expressed his satisfaction with his swift progress: 'A short time ago, I could not catch up with experienced drivers, but today, I can keep pace and compete with them.'

sum up, we should emphasize the excellent results achieved by Peter, who won everything he could and took the lead of the Championship, by a margin of 18 points. On the other hand, we should not miss the collisions, car breakdowns, and fierce battles in the pack. However, that's the way things are in motor sport. We look forward to meeting you at the next racing weekend in three weeks' time, once again at the Most circuit.

View of the panorama Studying the telemetry results in the pits Laura Hájková and her father; Michal Matějovský, too, came to encourage Laura The cars running with pretty tight gaps after the start Starting grid of Race 2 Laura Hájková, at the Most circuit Petr Fulín is going to take the first prize Petr Fulín, on the podium



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