Neck and neck

After a month-long break, the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 is set to spring back into action at Donington Park. Separated by only one point at the top of the overall standings, Alvaro Parente (Victory Engineering), Andy Soucek ( and Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA) will be keen to resume their exciting three-way struggle.

With six winners in the first eleven races, it is clear that this year's World Series Formula Renault 3.5 features some very evenly matched competitors. And whereas Robert Kubica had wrapped up the title before the final event in 2005, this year the suspense may well last until the season ends in Barcelona!

Six races to go, so in theory there is a maximum of 102 points up for grabs: the championship is therefore wide open when you consider that the leaders have 73 points each. Tied for the lead after the Nurburgring round, Alvaro Parente and Andy Soucek have been the most consistent top points scorers, each with five podium finishes. Parente will be determined to add to the two wins he already has secured this year and retake the championship lead, as he will be racing in very familiar surroundings. After all, he is the reigning British F3 champion!

Despite carrying an injured wrist since Spa, Andy Soucek was nonetheless the driver who scored the most points in the three summer meetings. Armed with unshakeable confidence, the Spaniard is ready for the final struggle.

The two leaders know however that they cannot afford to forget about the very impressive Pastor Maldonado, who lies only one point behind them in the overall standings! Despite having three wins to his name, the Venezuelan has lost precious point for various reasons. He has failed to score on six occasions, as opposed to five and four for Parente and Soucek.

Although he has yet to win a race, Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport) is still very much in the title race, only six points adrift. The prospects for Eric Salignon (, on the other hand, appear to be dwindling as the season progresses. The Frenchman will even need to keep an eye on several drivers who are aiming to break into the championship top five. They include Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing), who returned to race form at the Nurburgring, Sean McIntosh (KTR), last year's runner-up in the British Formula Renault 2.0, Christian Montanari (Prema Power Team), the category's most recent winner and Ben Hanley (Cram Competition), who will be racing on home soil. Although not so consistent, Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) and Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi) are both equally capable of winning!

Aside from Ben Hanley, three other British drivers will be determined to do well in front of their home crowd. After finishing on the podium in Monaco, James Rossiter (Pons Racing) can hardly be said to have kept a low profile. But not really for the right reasons, having been involved a series of incidents... Steven Kane (Epsilon Euskadi) and Robbie Kerr (KTR) will also be trying to increase their points totals. As regards the British teams, Carlin Motorsport has confirmed that South African driver Adrian Zaugg will line up alongside Aleshin. At Comtec Racing, Celso Miguez -- who has switched from Pons Racing -- will team up with Alx Danielsson.

It is worth noting several other changes to the starting line-up. At Draco Multiracing USA, Tomas Kostka is to be replaced by Milos Pavlovic. Marco Barba takes over from Alessandro Bonetti at Jenzer Motorsport, while Carlos Iaconelli joins GD Racing.

-credit: renault