A mouthwatering scenario
The World Series Formula Renault 3.5 is set to bring an exceptional line-up to Misano. In Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport), Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA), Eric Salignon (Interwetten.com) and Alvaro Parente (Victory Engineering), four drivers are currently vying for overall supremacy. That's without even considering the outsiders, who include local hero Christan Montanari (Prema Powerteam).
If it was difficult to pick out any favourites at the start of the 2006 World Series Formula Renault 3.5 season, that situation has hardly changed with five races gone. The four leaders (Garcia, Maldonado, Salignon and Parente) are all within four points of each other and only a few points ahead of two outsiders (Rossiter, Soucek) who will be out to take the slightest opportunity. That's without even counting those who are yet to show their true potential (Valsecchi, Montanari, Danielsson, Aleshin, McIntosh, Hanley, Toccacelo, Pilet, Van Lagen, etc.)! Another name who should be on that list is Sebastian Vettel. The German who currently lies in third place in the F3 Euro Series is set to replace Colin Fleming at Carlin Motorsport.
At Misano, we will be just one third of the way through the 2006 season. Two weeks later, the thirty drivers will meet again at Spa-Francorchamps for two races as a curtain-raiser for the Spa 24 Hour endurance race. Then the teams will have a quick breather to allow them to check over their cars and cover the 113 kilometers from Francorchamps to the Nurburgring for a third event in the space of four weeks! So the Summer gets underway at a sustained pace which looks set separate the wheat from the chaff by the start of the Autumn.
Of the main contenders, Borja Garcia has shown the best form since the start of the season. A newcomer to the World Series who can however call on his experience from GP2, the man from Valencia has already collected three podium finishes and two finishes outside the points. The RC Motorsport driver is therefore still without a win and is currently only one point clear of Pastor Maldonado.
After his victory in Monaco, the Venezuelan had a disappointing weekend in Istanbul. But his rivals were unable to capitalize. In Misano, he will the advantage of some inside knowledge as it was at this track that he cut his teeth in Formula Renault 2.0!
Level on 30 points each, Eric Salignon and Alvaro Parente could not have had more different starts to the season. After dominating in Zolder, the French driver went on to commit a series of errors. In contrast, his Portuguese rival just seems to be coming good after winning race two in Istanbul. So recent results would lead you to favour Portugal, but the French have recently proved their ability to bounce back.
After each having an incisive start to the season, James Rossiter (Pons Racing) and Andy Soucek (Interwetten.com) are managing to stay in contact with the leaders. But Soucek has now had a taste of victory and will undoubtedly be keen to continue where he left off.
In the top ten of the Championship standings, Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi) and Christian Montanari (Prema Powerteam) would also like to make it back onto the podium. With Misano only a few kilometres down the road from his home town of San Marino, Montanari will be able to count on strong support! Enrico Toccacelo, who will be joined by his new Brazilian teammate Carlo Iaconelli at Eurointernational, will also be trying to make his way up the standings. Meanwhile, Alessandro Bonetti (Jenzer Motorsport) and Matteo Meneghello (GD Racing) are still looking for their first points of the season.
However, above all, this meeting will be dedicated to two members of the WSR paddock who tragically passed away in recent road accidents: Kevin Picot, who was a track engineer at Cram Competition, and Albert Mickl, a mechanic at Jenzer Motorsport.