Czech racer Petr Čížek moved to the Expres Auto Racing team this year, where he not only competed as a driver with Cupra, but also served as a co-manager with Vít Smejkal, who was also his teammate in the second Cupra. The season in the new environment was a challenge for Čížek, but he also achieved great results.
You experienced this season in a new environment and in a new role as a team co-manager. What new things did you have to get used to?
There was more work involved in team organization, both before the race weekend and during it. Communication with the mechanics and race engineer had to be fine-tuned, and we learned together as we went along, but I think we handled everything quite well. And last but not least, I had to get used to a new partner in the second race car…
How do you rate your season this year? Last year you finished third, this year eighth. However, you managed to score points regularly.
Those seasons cannot be directly compared; the competition was really different. We are glad that despite certain technical issues, we were able to keep up with the best. It was a kind of starting season in this composition, and we hope that in the next one, we will move forward both in terms of results and technically.
How satisfying was it for you to have the third fastest time in qualifying and finish second in the race at Most?
We were wating for this result; it was a kind of confirmation that what we are doing is not wrong and that we are on the right path to what we have set for ourselves. We all needed such a result in the team; it encouraged us a lot for the rest of the season, and the fact that it happened at home was just the cherry on top.
You had a tremendous points streak that lasted for 25 races. Were you aware of it during the season?
Not really, as I have mentioned many times before, we always take one race at a time. For us, it is more important to have a good feeling on Sunday after the work we put in. I personally enjoy races full of battles for any position, and it is an added pleasure if it ends up being one of the top three places.
Which moment or race from this season stands out in your memory?
The first race at the Slovakiaring comes to mind, where we couldn’t participate in qualifying due to a technical issue with the car, and I had to start from the last position on the grid. I really enjoyed that race. And of course, the first race in my hometown of Most went quite well…
At the end of the season, you visited the Balaton Park circuit. How did you like the track, and do you think it will give you an advantage next year since you have already raced there?
Personally, I liked the track. Long straights followed by sharp turns and some sections resembling go-kart tracks. It might give us some advantage, but in the TCR Eastern Europe field, there are experienced drivers who can also quickly learn it.
What are your plans for the next season? Will you continue with the same lineup and the same cars?
We will remain loyal to Mr. Křenek and his team, and we will continue in TCR Eeastern Europe. In the team, the drivers, engineer, and our regular mechanics have agreed to stick together for the next season as well. As for the technical side, everything will remain the same, and we will race with our Cupras in the next season too.