Season draws to a close at Barcelona
More than 90,000 fans were in attendance for the closing round of the 2006 World Series by Renault, which saw the titles go to three worthy champions: Alx Danielsson (World Series Formula Renault 3.5), Filipe Albuquerque (Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0) and Jaap Van Lagen (Eurocup Megane Trophy). It seems the thoughts of all three winners are already focussed on next season..
Over 90,000 spectators
On Saturday, the main stand was already packed to capacity as 15,000 aficionados' turned out to follow the action. Then, on Sunday, 75,000 fans packed the Montmelo circuit for the main event. Over the season as a whole, nearly 550,000 spectators have come to watch the World Series by Renault!
Sainz has the time of his life!
Carlos Sainz, the guest of honour in his home region of Catalonia, could not have been more glowing in his praise after test-driving the F1 R25 that has won two consecutive world titles: "The acceleration, the braking, the grip, everything is amazing in this car. It is a unique experience, almost impossible to describe, and unlike anything I have felt before. I have been in a fighter plane, I have ridden a 500cc GP bike, but this is something else again. Renault has given me one of the best experiences of my life!"
Danielsson champion by results on the track
Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing) won with impressive ease at Barcelona - his fourth victory in six races! The Swede finished as Champion with 105 points, despite only having 16 to his name at the halfway point of the season. As the driver with the most wins (4), the most points-finishes (12) and the most kilometres in the lead (378, i.e. 23%), Alx was indisputably the championship's top performer on the track. Now he has only one thing on his mind: the prospect of the reward promised to the champion driver -- a test drive in an F1 R26. Meanwhile, he has already made quite an impression in his first tests for the GP2 Series.
Still hope for Maldonado and Garcia
The results of various appeals lodged with sporting bodies could change the final standings. The only thing we know for sure is that only Alx Danielsson, Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA) and Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport) are in with a shot of claiming the title. Garcia has to hope that the FIA's Court of Appeal will both reinstate the original placings from the first race at Zolder and allow him to hold on to his victory at Spa, where he was initially disqualified for a technical non-compliance. If both of these eventualities do not arise, then Maldonado will be crowned champion as long as the CSAI's Court of Appeal overturns his disqualification at Misano, also for a technical non-compliance. Otherwise, Danielsson will keep his title.
Albuquerque hits the jackpot!
Going into the final round of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, few gave Filipe Albuquerque (Motopark Academy) much hope of making up the considerable lead that had been opened up by Chris van der Drift and Carlo van Dam. But the Portuguese driver had the perfect weekend, picking up 31 points out of a possible 33 while his rivals failed to make it onto the podium. Things couldn't have worked out better for Filipe, who receives a 200,000 euro grant to allow him to compete in the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 next season.
Jaap does it the hard way
With a handsome lead going into the final weekend of the Eurocup Megane Trophy, Jaap Van Lagen (Equipe Verschuur) flirted with disaster on Friday by wrecking his car during collective testing. Fortunately, team spirit is not in short supply at the Dutch outfit and Bernhard Ten Brinke generously gave up his car to allow his team mate to fight for the title. Two wins later, Jaap was champion! In 2007, he intends to return to World Series Formula Renault 3.5 with Comtec Racing, the team he represented in five races this season. His rival from this year is likely to be beside him on the starting grid, as Matthieu Lahaye is also poised for a return to single-seater racing, once again with Tech 1 Racing.
Testing resumes on November 8
Thirty Formula Renault 3.5 vehicles will take to the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit on November 8 and 9 for the first two sessions of winter testing. On Wednesday morning, the top three drivers from the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, the North European Cup FR 2.0 and Formula V6 Asia by Renault, along with the Formula Renault 2.0 and 1.6 national champions, will take part in a 30-lap test session, an opportunity that these fifteen drivers are all very much looking forward to.