Le Mans: Series preview

Martinez defends his lead Marcos Martinez (Pons Racing) currently leads the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, but his position is increasingly under pressure. In second place, James Walker (P1 Motorsport) is making a strong comeback, while ...

Martinez defends his lead

Marcos Martinez (Pons Racing) currently leads the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, but his position is increasingly under pressure. In second place, James Walker (P1 Motorsport) is making a strong comeback, while Bertrand Baguette (International Draco Racing) needs to get back on track after struggling at Silverstone. Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing) is back in the race, after his win in the last round.

Marcos Martinez will long remember Silverstone 2009. Not only did the man from Madrid have the chance to get behind the wheel of the Renault F1 R28 Formula 1 car -- he also picked up his fourth win of the season, extending his lead at the top of the Formula Renault 3.5 series championship table. Despite being the only driver to have won several races this season, his position is nonetheless far from unassailable.

The competition, led now by James Walker, is pressing the Spaniard. The British driver has just stolen second place in the championship awayfrom Bertrand Baguette, and is hoping to go even further. Trailing six points behind Martinez before the French round, the P1 Motorsport driver can regret his three race retirements in the first half of the season. Consistent in qualifying (with four runner up spots) and regularly on the podium, a victory would begin to bring his title hopes to life.

Having drawn level with Marcos Martinez before the British round, Bertrand Baguette missed out on success on English soil. Always ranked, but without a win under his belt, the Belgian needs to be back in form at Mans to get his campaign moving again. With his teammate Marco Barba (International Draco Racing), the challenge will also be to hold onto their team's lead in the Team standings, with P1 Motorsport and Carlin Motorsport showing strong form again.

Boosted by his pole position and win at Silverstone, Charles Pic has put an end to his dry spell. On a Le Mans circuit that he knows inside out, and where he took a win last season, the Frenchman now needs a very good result to close the gap on the leaders. In fifth place, twenty nine points off Marcos Martinez, Pic no longer has room for error and will need a storming end-of-season run if he is to take the title and the F1 test that goes with it.

The rookies also have a chance of winning, as was proven in the best way possible by Oliver Turvey in Monaco. On the podium twice at Silverstone, the Racing Steps Foundation driver now lies fourth in the championship standings, but remains philosophical about chances. Looking for his first podium finish, teammate Jaime Alguersuari, who has just been promoted to reserve driver for the Red Bull Racing F1 Team, is one of the most regular drivers in the line-up. Having qualified for SuperPole at all rounds, and with seven points finishes in nine races, the Spaniard is gaining in experience all the time and is moving closer to the leader group. Chris Van der Drift (Epsilon Euskadi) is a rookie learning fast too. Ninth overall and one point off Alguersuari, the New Zealander has also made a convincing start to the season.

Finally, in front of his home crowd, Guillaume Moreau would love to offer a first podium finish in the category to the KMP group/SG formula, after scoring the first point for the team that has only recently joined the FR 3.5 series.

Traditionally large numbers of spectators are attracted to Le Mans for the World Series by Renault. As always, a wide range of attractions will be organized and Romain Grosjean will give the ING Renault FI team exhibition behind the wheel of the Renault F1 R28.

-credit: wsr

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About this article
Series Formula V8 3.5
Drivers James Walker , Marcos Martinez , Bertrand Baguette , Guillaume Moreau , Romain Grosjean , Oliver Turvey , Marco Barba , Charles Pic , Jaime Alguersuari
Teams Red Bull Racing , Carlin