Stuvik impresses with another double podium in Formula 3

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The 3rd round of the European Formula 3 Open Championship took place at the Nürburgring in Germany last weekend and started off with the sad news that Italian Pietro Stragliati, working for one of the GT Open teams, had lost his life in an accident in the paddock.  And seeming to mirror the tragic events, Friday’s weather saw heavy fog and rain cause delays to the F3 morning free-practice sessions.  

Saturday morning also witnessed a delayed start as the dense fog returned but once qualifying got under way it turned out to be a thriller.  Thailand’s Sandy Stuvik was continually 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) and only on the last timed lap could the he 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.

Sandy Stuvik (left) stands on the podium with Ed Jones (center) and Hector Hurst (right) after Race 1 at the Nürburgring in Germany, Saturday, June 1.Sandy Stuvik (left) stands on the podium with Ed Jones (center) and Hector Hurst (right) after Race 1 at the Nürburgring in Germany, Saturday, June 1.

In the race proper, the young Thai driver made a very fast start and immediately shot up into the lead, but with too cold tires he out-braked himself into Nürburgring’s downhill right first corner and lost 2 positions.  Stuvik fought back and within one lap he had recovered one position and was again back up to second.  In the meantime Jones had managed to pull out an unassailable lead so Stuvik focused on maintaining his position and collecting another 18 valuable points towards the championship title.

On Sunday the Nürburgring woke to the first day without rain and fog and Stuvik seemed to relish the drier conditions and kept setting the fastest times during the early morning qualifying session.  With the thermometer reading barely 4 degrees Celsius at the German circuit it 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.  The result was that he fell down to a P3 starting position.

Stuvik (foreground) steers his F3 car to third place in Race 2, Sunday, June 2. Stuvik (foreground) steers his F3 car to third place in Race 2, Sunday, June 2.

The race itself started in pretty uneventful fashion with little overtaking going on but a massive crash on lap 3 saw two cars going out and the appearance of the Safety Car before the race could again get underway.  Once the racing started again Stuvik was unable to make an impression on the leaders but at the chequered flag he claimed a creditable third place and his second podium for the weekend.

Sandy Stuvik entered the German round of the Formula 3 championship with a 28 point lead in the standings and left 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 he is expected to run well.

Stuvik himself commented after the Nürburgring races: “I am glad I could extend my championship lead this weekend and look forward to doing the same in Jerez in another 2 weeks time.  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 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.”