A dramatic weekend in Barcelona for the European Formula 3 Open Championship decider, saw Sandy Kraokaew Stuvik struggling with car problems during the Friday practice, missing out the first free practice session due to an oil pressure problem.
Then in the Saturday morning qualifying session, Stuvik was fighting a huge over steer in the car and could only manage a season worst P8 starting position for the race. Without enough time to change the ride height of the car, he would have to work around the over steer problem for the race.
The race started late in the afternoon at Barcelona Circuit and Stuvik went from P7 on the grid back to 8th on the first lap, before he again starting clawing his way up the field. In the end he took the checkered flag in fifth position, with his championship rival Jones, winning the taking over the championship lead.
In the meantime it emerged that Jones had raced at the Barcelona Circuit only 2 weeks ago, in direct contradiction with F3 rules, which prohibits testing on championship circuits. A protest was subsequently filed and accepted for hearing by the organizer committee at a later date.
For Sundays race Stuvik’s car set up was modified for a lower rear ride height before qualifying and finally the young Thai driver again had a car he could race with and managed P2 position in the qualification, just one tenth behind Jones in P1.
For the final race of the season the Thai driver had an unusual slow getaway from the grid and dropped to 5th position, before quickly getting past the drivers in front and up to 3rd position. Jones was out in the lead, but pushed his tires hard in the opening part of the race, too hard as it would soon emerge and with graining tires he started dropping backwards, first getting overtaken by Alex Cougnaud and soon after by Stuvik. By the end of the race the Thai driver was in second place and Jones had dropped to 5th place. Frenchman Alex Cougnaud, also from RP Motorsport, won the race.
The summary of the season is that the Thai racer Sandy Kraokaew Stuvik has the most points, 267 vs Jones 256 points, but the championship will be decided on only 14 of the 16 races and since the Thai driver has finished every single race in 5th place or higher, he has to drop valuable points. On the net points list Jones leads with 256 vs Stuvik 247 points. The championship therefore remains undecided until after the protest hearing against Jones, by the Formula 3 tribunal, in the end of November.
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.