17/07/05 - Bilbao - Race 1
Kubica brings home win for Epsilon
Preserve the car for this afternoon's long race: that was the key message for the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 drivers. Starting on pole position, Robert Kubica served up a home victory for the Basque country-based team, Epsilon Euskadi, and in doing so, became the first driver to win two races this season! Alongside him on the podium, Will Power (Carlin Motorsport) and Tristan Gommendy (KTR) look to have confirmed themselves more than ever as the Polish driver's fiercest rivals.
Robert Kubica took full advantage of his pole position to get away quickest in the rolling start. The Polish driver immediately moved several lengths ahead of Will Power and Tristan Gommendy, whilst Tomas Kostka (Victory Engineering) came into the pits, forced to abandon his race.
On lap 2, Colin Fleming (Jenzer Motorsport) got the better of Celso Miguez (Pons Racing), moving up to 6th position behind Kubica, Power, Gommendy, Salignon and Toccacelo. Miguez fell back another place on the next lap, as Christian Montanari (Draco Multiracing USA), the winner in Monaco, moved up the field.
At the front Kubica pushed hard to try and build up an early lead. After three laps, he had already established a 3-second advantage over Power.
In the main field, Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA) and Celso Miguez clashed, which led to the introduction of the safety. Just past the half-way stage of the race, the safety car exited and the race restarted, but Robert Kubica had it all to do once again! Raffaele Giammaria's race (DAMS) was brought to an end at this point, after he crashed off the circuit.
This time around, the leading group remained compact with Kubica, Power and Gommendy separated by less than two seconds. The quickest man on the circuit, Eric Salignon, had to push hard to move out of Enrico Toccacelo's reach.
With Power still looming large in his rear mirrors, Kubica kept pressing, managing to set the fastest race lap in the process.
Colin Fleming was forced to abandon his race, whilst lying in 6th place. And then it was the turn of Andreas Zuber (Carlin Motorsport), who had started at the back of the grid, to set the fastest race lap and take the bonus point awarded for this performance.
Robert Kubica: "This win was very important for the Epsilon Euskadi team, who, as you all know, are based here in the Basque country. I am also pleased to be the first driver to win a second race this season. It's also a great result for the Championship, but let's not forget that I am on the third row for the second race."
Will Power: "It was impossible to make up any points on Robert in this race. Second is good, but first is better! I hope to repeat my win at Le Mans in the second race."
Tristan Gommendy: "It was difficult for us as we have had gearshift problems since yesterday. I had a lot of difficulty in keeping up with Will, so it's good to finish in the first three. As for the Championship, I think that it's going to become increasingly difficult."