To the victor, the spoils!
The final showdown is at hand and three drivers, Carlin's Mikhail Aleshin, Tech 1 Racing's Daniel Ricciardo and ISR's Esteban Guerrieri are all in with a chance of scooping the prestigious 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 Series Drivers' Championship and the tryout with Renault F1 Team that goes with it. The final in Barcelona will deliver the long-awaited verdict. While the Russian, the Australian and the Argentinean battle it out for the Drivers' title, the Spanish contingent, lead by Epsilon Euskadi's Albert Costa, will also be hoping to shine in front of their home-crowd.
TEMikhail Aleshin, Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Guerrieri will be counting down the days until they take to the track at Barcelona on October 9-10 for the final races of the 2010 season. Just three points separate Aleshin and Ricciardo, while Guerrieri has more ground to make up, with a deficit of sixteen points.
While Aleshin has the advantage of arriving at Barcelona as championship leader, the 23-year old Moscovite is currently not enjoying the form of his rivals. Winner on three occasions, and with six podium finishes since the start of the season, the last two meetings, at Hockenheim and Silverstone, have been less impressive. With his last win this the season at Magny-Cours way back in June, Aleshin will need to return to his winning ways if he is to be sure of the title.
Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo holds a very different set of cards. His main concern at Barcelona will not be winning but above all finishing ahead of Mikhail Aleshin to make up his three-point deficit. This season's top performer in qualifying, having brought home seven pole positions, the 21-year old Australian can also count on the support of teammate Jean-Eric Vergne, who won his first Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Silverstone. With the Tech 1 Racing team just one point away from a third Teams title, the Ricciardo-Vergne partnership will be focussing solely on the Drivers' title. If Daniel Ricciardo, who has already proved himself as Best Rookie, can make a success of his title race, he will become only the second driver to do so in his first season of Formula Renault 3.5 Series, following in the footsteps of 2005 Champion, Robert Kubica.
Trailing Aleshin by sixteen points and Ricciardo by thirteen, Guerrieri will have his work cut out. But the Argentinean has shown a remarkable determination and seems ready to move mountains. With five wins to his name already this season, he is currently the man of the moment in Formula Renault 3.5 Series. On a circuit which brought him victory last time he drove here in FR3.5 Series back in 2008, Geurrieri must focus on victory and victory alone this weekend. His chances are still more in the hands of the opposition than his own, and he will surely be ready to take advantage of the slightest slip by Aleshin and Ricciardo.
Away from the fight for the title, several drivers will be hoping to finish the series on a high, starting with the four Spanish drivers taking part in Formula Renault 3.5 this season, in particular Albert Costa, the only Catalan driver to take part at this years meeting. With one third-place and two second-place finishes so far this season, the local hero will be hoping to claim his first win in the class on his favourite circuit and in front of his home crowd, just as he did in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 in 2009.
A strong result here could mean Costa finishes his first season in Formula Renault 3.5 Series on the fourth rung of the championship ladder. The only possible setback to his plan is that Fortec Motorsport's Sten Pentus, Comtec Racing's Stefano Coletti and International Draco Racing's Nathanael Berthon will all be hoping for their slice of the championship glory as well as finishing the season with a win.
Meanwhile, 2010 Formula 2 champion, British driver Dean Stoneman will get his first taste of Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Junior Lotus Racing at Barcelona alongside Nelson Panciatici.
On Sunday evening, the silverware for the 2010 season will be handed out, and all drivers and teams will be hoping to be in pride of place for the traditional prize-giving. But as of Tuesday, October 12, it's going to be back to work again at Barcelona, with two days of collective testing. 2011 will be starting early for Formula Renault 3.5 Series!
-source: renault sport