Zuber wins, but Kubica is champion
Andreas Zuber (Carlin Motorsport) took his first win of the season in Estoril after leading from start to finish. The Austrian finished ahead of Robert Kubica (Epsilon Euskadi), who secured the title with three races still to go! Third-placed Tristan Gommendy (KTR) took back second place overall from Adrian Valles.
Starting from pole position, Tristan Gommendy made a complete mess of his start and took the first corner in third position behind Andreas Zuber and Robert Kubica. Kubica and Gommendy were engaged in an intense battle on the first lap, but the French driver was unable to get past.
Zuber completed the first lap having already built up a 1.7-second lead over Kubica and Gommendy. Just behind these three, Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA) led a chasing group that included Felix Porteiro (Epsilon Euskadi), Colin Fleming (Jenzer Motorsport), Patrick Pilet (GD Racing), Adrian Valles (Pons Racing), Simon Pagenaud (SHG Saulnier Racing) and Christian Montanari (Draco Multiracing USA).
Kubica refused to give up the fight and moved back to within a second of Zuber, with three laps gone. Damien Pasini (Cram CompÃ©tition) came into the pits, forced to abandon due to mechanical failure.
With five laps gone, Zuber moved clear once again of Kubica. Further back, Gommendy could see Winkelhock getting closer in his mirrors. Struck by engine problems, Fernando Rees (Interwetten.com) added his name to the list of retirements.
In the main field, Simon Pagenaud attacked Adrian Valles, managing to overtake him only then to run wide. Valles moved back in front and Montanari took advantage of Pagenaud's error to muscle his way past and in between the two men! At the same time, Markus Winkelhock got the better of Tristan Gommendy. But not for long, the French driver fighting back almost immediately.
Valles and Pagenaud then found themselves put under pressure by Will Power (Carlin Motorsport). Valles was hit by gearbox problems and was forced to retire, leaving his two fellow drivers to fight it out with each other.
That was the last twist in a race that saw Kubica crowned as the first ever World Series Formula Renault 3.5 champion. With a 54-point lead, the Polish driver can no longer be caught, with only 50 points still available.
Andreas Zuber: "I made the perfect start to the perfect race in a perfect car! Thanks to the team, who helped me to win so easily."
Robert Kubica: "The race was difficult because my tyres were very worn. The more I attacked, the slower I went. I have won the championship earlier than I expected. It's down to having been consistent throughout the season. Even though I couldn't win every race, I've always picked up points. Obviously, I'd like to thank the whole team, as well as the Renault organisation which has supported us throughout."
Tristan Gommendy: "I made a complete mess of my start, which was a shame. But after a few laps I realised I couldn't keep up with the front two because the car was understeering a lot. It's still a good result for me in terms of the championship, since I have taken back second place from Valles."