Stuvik dominates at Paul Ricard

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Last month saw intense testing for the EuroFormula Open Winter Series prior to the season’s opening race on March 1. The Formula 3 cars have for 2014 been upgraded with a new and considerably faster engine and many teams struggled with teething problems during the first sessions.  Thai racer Sandy Stuvik worked with his Italian team RP Motorsport to overcome the challenges and by race day the team felt well prepared.

The winter series started with a qualifying session at the Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France and although the track saw a clear blue sky, the chilling winds and 10 degree temperatures kept all the spectators well wrapped up.

Sandy Stuvik sits in his car during the race qualifying session.Sandy Stuvik sits in his car during the race qualifying session.

Stuvik immediately started setting fast times and by the end he brought his time down to 2:00:750, a full 3 seconds faster than last year’s car and likely a new Formula 3 record time for the circuit.  His time would well and truly put the Thai racer on pole position.

As the red lights went out for the start of the race, Stuvik had a poor start and immediately lost 2 positions as the Italian, Giovesi and Japan’s Kanamaru shot past him.  However, with the cold weather, Stuvik allowed the tires to build temperature before challenging the two front runners.  By the second lap coming out of the first chicane, Stuvik lined up the Japanese driver, got passed and moved up to second place.  By this time Giovesi had gained a hundred meter lead and although clearly faster, it would take the Thai racer 7 laps to catch up.

On lap 9 coming out of the second chicane, Stuvik went on the outside of the Italian and managed to get ahead before the fast sweeping corner 10 and immediately stretched his lead.  From there on until the checkered flag on lap 14 the Thai driver was unchallenged and took a dominating victory, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process.

Sandy Stuvik is still searching for more sponsor partners to launch a bid towards the top level GP2 series and took the winter series as a chance to gauge his performance and readiness for the 2014 racing season.

The Thai flag flies high as Sandy Stuvik stands atop the podium at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France, Saturday, March 1.The Thai flag flies high as Sandy Stuvik stands atop the podium at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France, Saturday, March 1.

Stuvik drives his RP Motorsport Formula 3 car to victory in the season opening race.Stuvik drives his RP Motorsport Formula 3 car to victory in the season opening race.