Roman Stanek has made the most of Trident’s form in the second half of the 2022 Formula 3 season to supplant himself into the title fight after an ‘up and down’ campaign as the Czech driver describes it himself.
A stuttering start in Sakhir was fully addressed the following round at Imola, winning the Feature Race to jump right back into title contention. Since then, his season has simmered but never really reignited to that same level. And yet, Stanek’s solid drives and consistent points-scoring results mean that with one round to go, he is leading the Trident charge in the Drivers’ Championship.
“I want to say a big thanks to Trident for working hard every single day for us, they are doing an amazing job. We knew we had the pace already from the beginning, it’s been a season with ups and downs but I'm enjoying it and we are going to do the last race as a title contender.
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“Let’s do the maximum we can do out from it, and we see where we are from there, but I'm pretty sure if we can continue the momentum we’ve have had the whole season, it will be good.”
Just three non-scores since Round 1 in Bahrain leaves Stanek on 109 points, chasing down Victor Martins’ 126 total. His results are tied as the second-best run of form heading into Monza, with only Isack Hadjar threading together a more consistent points-scoring run.
While other drivers have enjoyed more regular appearances on the rostrum, a double podium at Spa-Francorchamps came at the perfect moment for Stanek. As rivals faltered on Friday during Qualifying, the Trident driver capitalised to maximise the damage. His back-to-back second places in the Sprint and Feature Races put him right into the mix.
Those results were built from his one-lap work, something that the Trident driver says has been a critical and successful element for him and his teammates all season long. The team’s focus on one-lap speed has been a huge factor in the results says Stanek.
“One of our strong points is Qualifying. I know sometimes I was not there on top, but this was just because of luck. For example, at Zandvoort, I had the Red Flag while I was on a very good lap. Same at the Red Bull Ring, I was on a very good lap and then a Red Flag came out.
“Qualifying is strong. We're really prepared on that one lap because Qualifying is 50% of the weekend. It's where you start for Sunday, which is very important. So yeah, that’s been very good. Our preparation for the races has also been very good and very strong.”
If there is one area that Stanek believes he has maximised in 2022 when compared to his previous years in racing, it is the pre-race preparation he does.
A renewed focus on extracting every element of performance he can ahead of a race weekend is something he tributes to his strong position and results this year.
With one final weekend to prepare for, Stanek says that understanding his weaknesses and addressing them constructively along with collaborating with the team where possible has unlocked another level for him.
“I feel that if I am weak in something, it's not that I’m saying I cannot do it, I'm trying to find the solution for every weakness I have. For example, if my neck is weak, I don't say ‘oh, my neck is weak’, I start to train it and work on it. That’s how it is.
“Working hard is the key because really the guys are working hard, and we are working hard also as drivers together with them. So that's one of the biggest points. Never underestimate the preparation for the race, never underestimate any preparation.”
Outscored at Zandvoort by the two drivers ahead of him in the Championship standings, Stanek says that it hasn’t affected his outlook on the finale or his game plan heading into the final races.
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For the Trident man, he knows the car he has underneath him is good enough for victory so it will be about delivering under pressure, but most importantly, racing as well as he knows he can. One more special weekend for Stanek and he may well surprise once again come the Feature Race chequered flag.
“My expectations for Monza haven’t changed with the title on the line. It’s always to make the best possible race and to extract the best out of me and out of the car. I don't focus on the points, don't focus on position either. I’ll just try to be as close to the perfect last lap as possible. So, we’ll push and enjoy the last weekend. I want to be able to say that I did my best when I look back after the race weekend. I'm really looking forward to Monza, it’s one of my favourite tracks, so let's go!”