The second round of the European Formula 3 Open Winter Series was held at the Jerez Circuit in Spain on the 2nd of March and Thai driver Sandy Stuvik continued to build on his 2013 championship aspirations as the young racer consistently ran amongst the five fastest Formula 3 cars during the Friday free practice.
The Formula 3 race was held after the Formula 1 and GP2 series had completed their first season tests at the circuit which is located in the southernmost part of Spain. The track offered pleasant temperatures compared to other snow covered circuits around Europe.
17 year old Stuvik will return to Europe in April for the European Formula 3 season.
Stuvik was not entirely satisfied with his qualifying session, as he could only manage a 7th starting position on the grid. He put this down to his own on track mistakes and over-confidence in the car’s down force in the cold early morning run. A high speed off into the gravel in the fast sweeping turn eight earlier in the day also lingered on the mind of the Thai.
In the race proper, however, the 17 year old from Rayong did not hold back and moved up 2 positions through turns 1 and 2 after a very good start. An accident in the back of the 23 car field saw the safety car deployed and the field bunched up for a second release on the third lap. After the restart Stuvik closed down on the two deVillota cars running in front as one of them developed an engine problem and on lap 6 after setting the third fastest lap time of the race, he passed and moved into 4th place.
Pushing hard to catch up to the front runners, Stuvik went wide onto gravel on the exit of turn 10 and dropped back to fifth position. He again gave chase and in the process of trying to regain 4th place he made contact with the car in front and damaged his front wing. From then on he focused on maintaining his position and making sure the wing did not come off and took the checkered flag in a solid fifth place.
With that result the Thai driver is now 3rd in the Winter Series points tally, as he prepares to go back to Thailand and year ending school exams, before the European Formula 3 seasons starts in earnest at Paul Ricard Circuit in France on 26-28 of April.
Sandy Nicholas Stuvik races for the Royal Automobile Association of Thailand and is sponsored by The Pizza Company, Singha Corporation, Dacon Inspection Services and Sports Authority of Thailand.
Sandy Stuvik heads a fleet of chasing cars as he makes a turn at the top of the straight at the Jerez Circuit in Spain, Saturday, March 2.