The 3rd round of the European Formula 3 Open Championship in Germany started off with delays due to heavy fog and rain during the Friday morning free practice sessions, however the Thai driver Sandy Kraokaew Stuvik stayed as one of the fastest drivers throughout the day. In the mornings of June 1th 2013, qualifying was delayed further because of dense fog and turned out to be a thriller, as the Thai driver kept catching up to slower cars and could not find the space to get in a clean and fast lap. With 31 Formula 3 cars on track, the German Nürburgring was quite congested. Only at the last timed lap could the Thai driver find the space he needed and managed to secure a P2 starting position with a time of 1:54:836, a mere 0:4 second off the pole time set by UAE’s Ed Jones.
Shortly later the first of the weekends two races saw the young Thai driver with a very fast start and he immediately shot up in the lead of the race, but with too cold tires he out breaker himself into Nürburgrings downhill right first corner and instead lost 2 positions. Stuvik fought back immediately and within one lap he could overtake the car in front and was again back up to second position. In the meantime Jones had managed to pull out a lead and the Thai driver focused on maintaining his position and collecting another 18 valuable points towards his championship title.
On Sunday 2nd June, 2013. The Nürburgring circuit woke to the first day without rain and fog for the weekends 2nd race of the 2013 European Formula 3 Open championship, with Thailand’s driver Sandy Kraokaew Stuvik getting a lot of attention following on from his first podium finish Saturday. The Thai driver would not disappoint his fans and kept setting fastest times during the early morning qualifying session. Only 4 degrees Celsius at the German circuit meant that keeping temperature and consequently grip in the tires, was the biggest challenge. On the penultimate qualifying lap Stuvik again set a purple, fastest lap, but pushing even harder for the last lap, he did not find enough grip in his front tires for late breaking and lost time going wide in turn one, consequently he did not post a fast time on the last lap. The result was that he fell down to a P3 starting position.
In the race the Thai driver had an average start, not as fast as yesterday where he managed to shoot up in the lead, so coming through the first turn he maintained his P3 position. The race would soon turn into a train formation where the cars has spaced themselves out and there were little overtaking attempts. A massive crash on lap 3 saw 2 cars going out and the appearance of the Safety Car before the race again got under way. In the end Sandy Kraokaew Stuvik claimed the 3rd place and his second podium for the weekend.
Stuvik entered the German round of the Formula 3 championship with a 28 point lead and leaves the event with 105 points and a 32 point lead. The next race will be in Spain at the famous Jerez circuit where the Thai driver tested earlier this year and is expected to run well. Stuvik himself commented after the Nürburgring even; “I am glad I could extend my championship lead at Nürburgring this weekend and look forward to doing the same in Jerez in another 2 weeks. The team did a great job with the car under difficult and changing weather conditions. This was a race weekend of mixed emotions, after the tragic loss of Pietro Stragliati in an unfortunate accident on Friday and it was difficult to let the emotions out, therefore we did not spray champagne as usual on the podium as a sign of respect and condolence to Pietro’s family.”
Sandy Kraokaew Stuvik races for Thailand and is sponsored by The Pizza Company, Singha Corporation, Dacon Inspection Services, the Royal Automobile Association of Thailand and Sports Authority of Thailand. Live web streaming at http://www.live.f3open.net/.
Photo by Fotospeedy.