After last Saturday’s 2nd place podium finish in the first race at the Portimao Circuit, Thai driver Sandy Stuvik started the Sunday morning qualifying session on a very positive note. However, just after Stuvik put on the his new tires for the fastest lap times, the session saw two cars coming together in a massive crash in one of the blind downhill sectors of the circuit and the session was red flagged.
On the restart, Stuvik again pushed hard, but could only manage a sixth place starting position for the afternoon race. The fastest car was that of Britain’s Hector Hurst, with a time of 1:40.453.
Sandy Stuvik (right) stands on the podium with Santiago Urritia (left) and Ed Jones.
In race 2 Stuvik had a very good start and through the first few corners moved up 2 places to 4th, chasing after the lead trio of Hurst, Jones and Urrutia. By midway in the race both Urrutia and Stuvik managed to find their ways past Hurst and started the chase to catch up to Jones. In the process they would keep setting fastest laps while closing down on the leader. In fact Stuvik claimed the fastest lap of the race, as the two RP Motorsport cars closed the gap down to only 1 second. But in the end they ran out of laps and the race was won by UAE’s Ed Jones, with Uruguay’s Urrutia in second and Thailand’s Stuvik in third.
Sandy Stuvik claimed 2 podium finishes in Portugal and extended his championship to 72 points, a full 28 points in front of his team mate Santiago Urritia with 44 points.
Saturday’s race had seen the Thai racer qualify in P3, a mere 0.119 seconds behind pole sitter and team mate Alex Toril. The Spanish driver was again only a fraction ahead of the south-American superstar, Santiago Urritia. For Stuvik this was the first all dry race weekend in almost a year, as virtually all his resent racing events have been on wet circuits.
The subsequent race saw the trio of Uruguay’s Urritia, Spain’s Toril and Thailand’s Stuvik start to open a gap on the pursuing 28 Formula 3 cars. On the last lap of the race, Stuvik slipstreamed Toril down the Portimao main straight and at speed of 250 kph, managed to overtake the Spaniard and move into second. In the end the three RP Motorsport teammates finished in that order to lockout the podium. Stuvik again set the fastest lap of the race on the last lap.
Stuvik steers his RP Motorsport F3 car to second place in Race 1 at the Portimao Circuit in Portugal, Saturday, May 11.
The championship now moves on to Germany, where the 3rd round will be hosted at Nurburgring in another 2 weeks time from 1-2 June.
Stuvik, who had to miss one of his graduation exams to race in Portugal, commented after the race weekend: “The team did an awesome job of quickly getting both me and the car up to speed, even though we had to miss most of Thursday’s practice. A double podium and huge extension of my championship lead here in Portugal was much more then I had hoped for. I feel the Italian RP Motorsport Team and myself now are really starting to gel and they know how to make the car work really well for me. I am excited moving on towards the next circuit in Germany, which I know well and am hoping to be even more competitive at.”