Rui Andrade has had a lot to learn in Euroformula Open this year, as it is just his second season racing single-seater cars.
The Angolan-Portuguese teenager raced in Spanish Formula 4 in 2018, finishing 12th in the standings for Drivex School with two top five finishes. Over winter he continued his F4 career in the United Arab Emirates, where he became a frequent podium threat and improved to fifth in the standings.
Sticking with the Drivex team from Spain, Andrade got his first taste of a Formula 3 car in the Euroformula Open pre-season test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, a venue he will get to revisit later in the year. He then kicked off the 2019 season by setting the pace in a wet free practice session at Paul Ricard by over a second. He hasn’t replicated that high since, but has been on a steady learning curve.
“The season so far has been very fun but also very challenging,” said Andrade. “I have only ever been to one of the tracks on the calendar this season [Barcelona] so the season so far has been about learning as much as possible in as little time as possible. Not knowing any of the tracks is a big setback. I believe I’ve improved a lot since the first round but there is still some way to go - so I use that as motivation to work harder and to keep pushing until I reach my goals.”
Andrade has finished 10 of the 12 races held this season, and picked up his best result of the season on the historic Pau street circuit in France. He also picked up points for the rookie championship there, and currently lies in ninth in the standings. For four of the six rounds this year, Andrade has been without a more experienced team-mate to learn from, and has also adapted to using a Piedrafita and HWA engine.