A change or more of the same?
Thanks to two wins in Oschersleben, Robert Kubica (Epsilon Euskadi) has now built up a serious lead over his rivals, with only six races remaining. Mathematically, the Polish driver can win the title at Donington. But for that to happen, Tristan Gommendy (KTR), Will Power (Carlin Motorsport), Adrian Valles (Pons Racing) and several other drivers would have to hit drastic misfortune and record no points whatsoever.
To some extent, Robert Kubica is WSR's force tranquille. In Germany, the Pole was unflappable, once again quietly going about his business in the atrocious conditions. Without making a single error, the Epsilon Euskadi team's lead driver took a further two victories. Which meant that he could start the short summer break with a comfortable 47-point cushion and that whatever happens this weekend, he will come away from the UK as championship leader.
Oschersleben was also a good weekend for Tristan Gommendy. With two podium finishes, the Frenchman put himself back into contention for the title. His failure to score points on four occasions -- against Kubica's single blank -- will however be a major handicap when results are added up at the end of the season. But Tristan is determined to keep fighting right to the end!
Singled out as Kubica's fiercest rival after his great performances at Le Mans and in Bilbao, Will Power suffered badly in Germany. It should be said that the Australian driver had not raced on European circuits before this season, which has made it difficult to avoid all of the pitfalls. But by not scoring any points in six of the eleven races, Will has allowed Kubica to get away. Will he be able to stop the rot?
He will certainly be able to rely upon the increased motivation of his team, Carlin Motorsport, the only British team involved in World Series Formula Renault 3.5. After winning the 100th race of its motorsport history in Bilbao, Trevor Carlin's team would obviously love to start a new series of wins at their home event. The team can also count on Andreas Zuber. Fifth overall, the Austrian driver was back in the top-three at Oschersleben and will be looking for his first win!
Among the drivers still looking to record their first win in 2005, Adrian Valles is also a threat. Invariably consistent, the Pons Racing driver has been unlucky on several occasions and yet, despite this, he still lies in 4th place, only ten points behind Gommendy.
Fifth overall, tied with Zuber, Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA) will be determined to erase the disappointment of Oschersleben. When looking all set to repeat his victory from Le Mans, the German made a costly mistake which allowed Kubica to take the win.
With only one top-three finish since the start of the season, Eric Salignon (Cram Compotition) completes the group of the seven leading drivers, from which the 2005 champion is certain to come.
As has been the case in recent meetings, we can also expect excellent performances from Daniel La Rosa (Interwetten.com), Felix Porteiro (Epsilon Euskadi), Alx Danielson (DAMS), Colin Fleming (Jenzer Motorsport) and Milos Pavlovic (GD Racing). But the most motivated outsider will undoubtedly be Ryan Sharp (Jenzer Motorsport)! The Scottish driver, runner-up in last year's Eurocup Formula Renault V6, will be alone in defending British honour this weekend!
In other driver news, Pastor Maldonado (DAMS) will return to racing this weekend, but Karun Chandhok (RC Motorsport) will not feature -- his place will be taken by Matteo Pellegrini, 2nd in the 2004 World Series Light championship. In the Victory Engineering team, the drive left vacant by Toccacelo's move to F1 as Minardi's 3rd driver is taken up by the Brazilian Danilo Dirani, previously seen in the British F3 championship.