Parente earns himself the title!
By just making it onto the podium in the penultimate race of the season, Alvaro Parente (Tech 1 Racing) has earned himself the 2007 World Series Formula Renault 3.5 Championship title. The race win went to Miguel Molina (Pons Racing) ahead of Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com). The Catalonian may however still be stripped of victory due to incidents off the track. By finishing in fourth, Pavlovic pulls back a point on Hanley in the battle for second place overall.
After having been deemed responsible for an accident during race two at Estoril, Molina should have been put back ten places on the grid for this race. Given that Pons Racing has lodged a suspensive appeal with the Portuguese motorsport federation, he was able to drive his race normally at the risk of being disqualified from this meeting should his appeal be rejected.
Having lined up on the damper side of the track, Parente tucked in behind Duran, who got the best start from pole position. Molina managed to hold onto third ahead of Pavlovic, Van der Garde, Aleshin, Wickens, Barba, Baguette and Valsecchi.
Richard Philippe went off the course on lap two, but the stewards were able to clear his car from the track quickly. With three laps gone, Duran and Parente had managed to build a slight lead over Molina while Hanley had moved up into 12th ahead of NuÃ±ez.
On lap four, Duran made an error which allowed Parente to try an attack. The Mexican held firm to defend his lead. The first drivers started to come in to refuel at the end of lap six. Barba managed to rejoin the race despite the fact that his car was spilling smoke from a loose gearbox oil radiator hose.
Parente and Albuquerque came in for their tyre changes on lap 7. Parente rejoined 33''690 adrift off Duran. Hanley then came into the pits on the following lap. Now well clear, Duran and Molina had a 9-second lead over Van der Garde.
At the end of lap 12, the race was still being led by Duran, followed by Molina, Van der Garde and Baguette. Aleshin then chose to come in for his stop. Parente was at this stage clocked at 37''2 behind the leader. Duran, Molina and Van der Garde made their stops on the following lap. With their home crowd right behind them, the Pons Racing mechanics pulled off a perfect stop to enable the young Catalonian to regain the lead over the Mexican!
Both men rejoined the race with a three-second lead over Alvaro Parente. After making his stop, Bertrand Baguette rejoined in 8th position behind Pavlovic, Van der Garde, Aleshin and Wickens. Valsecchi and Albuquerque rounded off the provisional top ten.
With ten laps to go, Hanley made it through into 10th. On the penultimate lap, Aleshin managed to pass Van der Garde to move up into fifth. On the last lap, Valsecchi dropped out of the top 10, meaning that NuÃ±ez was able to earn himself a point and a start from pole tomorrow!
Miguel Molina: "I got off to a good start but I got held up behind Alvaro and was unable to attack as much as I'd have liked. When he came into the pits, I was able to push on a bit before making my pitstop. It's superb to take my second home win."
Salvador Duran: "This weekend we changed certain things on the car and we managed to put ourselves back at the forefront of things. We missed out on the win because I made a slight error during the tyre change."
Alvaro Parente: "We knew that we would be competitive here once again and we proved just that by qualifying on the front row. After making my stop I found myself in a bit of traffic which prevented me from being able to fight it out for the win. Obviously I'm really happy to have secured the title. I really can't wait to test the Renault F1 and I hope that it will provide me with an opportunity to develop my career still further.