Sandy Kraokaew Stuvik secured his second consecutive overall championship title in the GT3 Class of the Thailand Super Series 2020. The final round of the championship concluded Sunday, Nov. 15, at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram.
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As the reigning and defending champion, Sandy managed to get back-to-back titles in the Thailand Super Series’ premier class: GT3, driving with the Audi R8 GT3 Evo for B-Quik Absolute Racing. Together with his teammate Daniel Bilski, the pair drove an outstanding race on Sunday to secure the championship in dramatic fashion.
Going into the weekend, Sandy was third in the overall championship standings, with a sizable deficit to the championship leaders. From Friday’s practices, it was clear that the B-Quik Absolute Racing Audi R8 GT3 Evo would be competitive, with Sandy frequently topping the timesheets in the free practice sessions.
Saturday morning’s qualifying sessions got underway, and Sandy’s teammate Daniel Bilski set a fantastic lap time in Q1 to secure Pole Position for Race 1, which would take place later that day. Sandy then took the wheel for Q2 and set a blistering lap time to secure a double Pole Position. This would mean Sandy would start Sunday’s Race 2 from the head of the field.
“What an incredible feeling to get Pole for both races. Daniel did a great job to get the lap in, and I was quite happy with my lap as well. The team and our engineer have done a great job setting the car up on the test days, so we head into the races feeling confident of a good result,” said Sandy.
Saturday afternoon’s Race 1 saw Daniel Bilski take the start, and after a hectic first few laps, the Australian driver settled into P4. The start would always be difficult with the top speed disadvantage compared to the other competitors, but the Audi R8 GT3 Evo has the advantage of better handling in the corners.
Just before the pit window opened, the championship-leading Ferrari had a big crash with the barrier and brought out the safety car. This would be a huge disadvantage for all the Pro-Am cars with their pit-stop time handicap, and would play into the hands of the Am cars, which have 30 seconds less pit-time than the Pro-Am cars. When Sandy got into the car, he was in P4, with the Bentley just ahead in P3. After hunting down and overtaking the Bentley for P3, the two leaders were simply too far away to reel in, and ultimately, the Thai driver had to settle for P3.
“It was always going to be an uphill battle after that safety car, so the Am cars got a big advantage. I did the best I could but in the end their gap was too big to close. Tomorrow we will start from pole again, and we’ll give it another shot,” Sandy explained.
Sunday’s Race 2 took place in the setting sun, and Sandy led the field out to start the race. Due to the championship-leading Ferrari’s crash yesterday, it would not be competing in Sunday’s race. This meant the championship was well and truly up for grabs, in a ‘winner-takes-all’ showdown.
The Thai driver had a great start, defending from the hard-charging Ferrari behind. After managing to hold the lead out of Turn 3, Sandy set his eyes forward and tried to build a gap. Thanks to a small tussle between the cars behind, Sandy managed to pull a gap of around 4 seconds in the opening laps. He kept setting consistently fast lap times in a bid to pull away from the field as much as he could, and was able to widen his lead to 9 seconds before pitting and handing over to Daniel Bilski.
As the Australian driver exited the pits, he made a fantastic move to overtake the leading Am (shorter pit time) Mercedes-AMG, and regained the race lead. However, he had a fast-paced Bentley coming up behind him, and lap after lap the gap decreased.
Sandy got on the radio to give Daniel some crucial information and advice. The Australian driver responded well and he comfortably held off the Bentley’s attack to bring home the victory, and most importantly, the championship.
“I can’t believe it, after the first round our points were very far off the leaders so in my mind I was just going to do the best race I could and make sure to give it everything I had. I really didn’t expect to win the championship this year, but after a little bit of luck, and a lot of hard work, we did it! I’m so happy for the team to also secure the Teams’ Championship which means we are back-to-back champions! I have to thank everybody that has supported us, our partners, sponsors, and most importantly the team for doing such a great job setting up our beautiful Audi R8 GT3 Evos! Now it’s time to celebrate a bit, and get working towards next year!” Sandy said.
Sandy Kraokaew Stuvik is honored to be supported by The Pizza Company, B-Quik, Audi Sport Asia, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Jet8 Aviation, Thai Airways, Puma Thailand, Dacon Trading, Thaiwings Travel Agency, the Sports Authority of Thailand and the Royal Automobile Association of Thailand.