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Stuvik's Audi team settles for 7th in GT World Challenge Asia

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Sandy Kraokaew Stuvik and his team finished seventh place overall after the first round of 2022 GT World Challenge Asia.

The first round took place from May 20 to 22 at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia after a two-year disruption due to Covid-19.

Sandy Kraokaew Stuvik teamed up with Audi Sport Asia Team X-Works for the inaugural round of Asia’s most professional GT3 championship.

Stuvik shared his No. 22 Audi R8 GT3 Evo II with Australian Yasser Shahin, former Audi R8 LMS Cup champion. The duo race in the Pro-Am category and compete for overall wins.

With a productive Thursday test completed, Stuvik and Yasser together with the team endeavoured to find the best setup for the hot conditions at the Sepang Circuit.

Come official practice on Friday, it was clear that the Audi-backed team would be fighting an uphill battle with this season’s BOP (balance of performance). This is supposed to create a level playing field for all cars, however, this was unfortunately not the case for the Audi cars on the grid.

On Saturday morning, qualifying sessions took place with Yasser Shahin taking the wheel for Q1, qualifying in seventh place. Sandy jumped in the car for Q2, where he managed to secure the sixth position.

“This is the maximum we can do given the circumstances. Sadly we don’t stand a chance with the BOP the way it is now”, Stuvik explained after a difficult session.

Saturday afternoon’s Race 1 took place with Shahin at the wheel of the No. 22 Audi Sport Asia Team X-Works Racing entry. A fantastic drive from the Australian saw Shahin get up to second place before the pit-stop window, and he handed over the car to Stuvik. A few crucial seconds lost in the pit-stops meant Stuvik slipped down to third position.

Just as the race was settling down, Stuvik, unfortunately, had a rear-wheel hub failure, which meant the Thai driver had to retire from the race.

Thankfully the No. 22 entry had completed more than 75 per cent of the race, meaning that Shahin and Stuvik were able to secure valuable championship points.

“A real shame to have to retire the car as we were looking set for a top-four finish. The podium would likely have been out of reach as we simply cannot match the pace of the leading cars, but we’ll regroup and give it our all again in tomorrow’s race”, said Stuvik.

Race 2 took place on Sunday at noon, with Stuvik taking the start and keeping his nose clean in the first few corners. Stuvik settled into the race and was running in the fifth position before the pit-stop window.

The Thai driver handed over the car to Shahin, but sadly the car left the pit lane too soon, resulting in a penalty. Yasser and Stuvik would be classified in the sixth position despite the penalty, securing more valuable championship points.

Stuvik said that after a challenging weekend: “It is very unfortunate that the pit-stop was slightly misjudged, but luckily we have only lost one position because of it. We’ll learn from this and we will come back stronger and more ready for the next one. I’m looking forward to racing in Japan again, and at Suzuki, one of my favourite circuits in the world .”

He will compete in the second round of the GT World Challenge at Suzuka International Racing Course in Japan from July 15 to 17.

 

Stuvik's Audi team settles for 7th in GT World Challenge Asia Stuvik's Audi team settles for 7th in GT World Challenge Asia Stuvik's Audi team settles for 7th in GT World Challenge Asia

Published : May 26, 2022

By : THE NATION