Thai driver Sandy Stuvik is one of the leading drivers in this years EuroFormula Open Championship, and is embroiled in a good battle for the drivers’ championship with fellow RP Motorsport driver Artur Janosz and Campos Racing’s Alex Palou.
Stuvik raced in the series in 2013 (when it was called the European F3 Open) and finished a close second in the championship to Ed Jones, but was happy to continue racing in this series as he was confident of making a challenge for the title and going one better than last year. His motivation and desire to win the championship remains high, and feels the current field is very competitive.
“The series offers a lot of seat time in a great car, which will really help me develop as a driver,” said Stuvik to The Checkered Flag. “We were also confident that we could achieve good results, which will help in establishing a good deal with teams in the future. The ambition is to win the championship, and that has been the vision from the beginning of the year.
“The motivation to win is powerful enough to move mountains, so it’s easy to keep motivated on the target. Furthermore, during my mental training with Shape Driver in Italy we focus on the objectives we need to achieve – and exactly the things we need to do in order to achieve these objectives. Before heading to the circuit I’ll normally have a small workout in the morning with my Physiotherapist from Shape Driver, together with my team-mate Saud Al Faisal.
“The field is competitive again this year, with some surprises like Alex Palou who is doing really well for his first year in single-seaters.”
Stuvik has four team-mates in the RP Motorsport team in the form of Al Faisal, Janosz, Andres Saravia and John Simonyan, and feels comfortable in his surroundings. He also acknowledges the pace of Polish driver Janosz, who is in the championship fight with his Thai team-mate.
“The atmosphere within the RP Motorsport garage, as it was last year, is fantastic and I feel very comfortable and at home,” said Stuvik. “There is a true passion for motorsport in this team.
“I’m really happy to have a team-mate like Artur who is constantly fast and we can learn off each other which ultimately means we both improve from one another’s strengths on track.”
The Thai driver had a great start to his season, with a second place and a win at the Nurburgring in Germany. The following round at Portimao in Portugal saw him suffer a gearshift issue that caused him to drop down the field to twelfth in the opening race, but he pulled it all together to win the second race. He followed that up around the Spanish track of Jerez with a double victory. Last time out at the Hungaroring in Hungary, a mistake at the opening corner saw Stuvik on the back foot, but he fought back to take fourth at the flag. Unfortunately he suffered his first retirement of the season in race two with a wheel hub problem.
“The first few rounds have been successful – despite the gearshift problem in Portimao race 1 – we have been able to finish on the podium in every race [up to Hungary],” said Stuvik. “So far I’m happy with my performance in the past races. Shame what happened in Portimao race 1, as I could have had 5 straight wins of 6.
“The move on the first corner [in Hungary] was my mistake, as I had a better start than the two in front of me but then in the rush to find a good position to challenge into the first turn, I missed my braking point and was consequently coming towards the corner too fast. In order to avoid crashing into the two in front of me I had to go over the track and my race was heavily compromised. After the poor first corner I was satisfied to get fourth in the end as passing at the Hungaroring is near impossible.
“On Sunday we had 2 bolts in the wheel hub that broke and I lost steering of my left front tyre and I could not continue the race.
“However, there is always room to improve and there is no time to get complacent. Therefore, every race weekend we are constantly searching for every last thousandth of a second.”
The disappointing weekend in Hungary and the wins for both Janosz and Palou meant the championship battle closed up. Stuvik lost the lead to his team-mate, but only nine points cover Janosz in first to Palou in third, and Stuvik admits it has added some excitement to the series.
“It definitely adds some excitement to the championship and the next 4 tracks are the tracks I enjoy most out of the season,” insisted Stuvik.
Stuvik feels this year is very important when it comes to progressing up the motor sport ladder. He tested a GP2 Series car with the Rapax team at the end of 2013, and is targeting either GP2 or World Series by Renault for 2015, and hopes to do enough to force Formula 1 teams to take notice.
“ is very important, as it will likely be the last year before advancing onto a top-level single-seater series next year,” said Stuvik. “The plan at the moment is to enter GP2 or World Series by Renault in 2015. Judging by how the GP2 test in Abu Dhabi went last year there will be a lot of learning to do but I’m confident that I’ll get to grips with things fairly quickly.
“Of course the [main] goal is not only to reach the pinnacle of the sport, Formula 1, but also to achieve success there.”