Valles wins incident-packed race
The Monza track -- with its endless overtaking opportunities -- was the venue for the most exciting race of the season. Adrian Valles (Pons Racing) only took the lead with two laps to go. The Spanish driver thus takes a stride towards the runner's up spot in the Championship by finishing ahead of fellow countryman Felix Porteiro (Epsilon Euskadi) and Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA).
As the track dried out, the teams took a long time to decide on their tyre selection. In the end, everyone opted for slicks except Damien Pasini, Fernando Rees and Ryan Sharp. Meneghello did not make it onto the start grid after going off on the warm-up lap. Christian Montanari, however, did make it into the line-up in a car that had been rebuilt by the Draco Multiracing USA team.
Felix Porteiro made the perfect start and led into the first chicane, ahead of Adrian Valles and Colin Fleming. Driving easily with his wet tyres, Ryan Sharp (Jenze Motorsport) wasted no time in overtaking Pilet and then his teammate Fleming. Pilet took advantage of Sharp's move to get past the Californian himself.
Sharp then went after the two Spaniards. Pilet was almost stuck to the Scottish driver's rear wing and got past him at the start of lap 3! While trying to fight back, Sharp span off, ending up in the gravel. Porteiro, Valles and Pilet thus found themselves clear at the front with a four-second lead over the chasing pack led by Fleming, Gommendy, Kubica, Pavlovic, Winkelhock and Miguez.
The Carlin Motorsport drivers were having a miserable time. Andreas Zuber was held up by Davide Rigon's (Victory Engineering) spin at the first chicane, while Giorgio Mondini was shunted off by Pastor Maldonado (Dams).
Colin Fleming lost two places on lap 5, allowing Gommendy and Winkelhock past, before running into Robert Kubica (Epsilon Euskadi), who was forced to abandon.
Patrick Pilet snatched second place from Adrian Valles, who was gradually falling back. Markus Winkelhock continued to enjoy himself, taking 4th place from Tristan Gommendy. Colin Fleming, who was lying in 6th, picked up a 'drive through' penalty for having also shunted Fernando Rees (Interwetten.com). He was then forced to abandon just after completing his penalty, when he also went off into the gravel!
With five laps to go, Pilet upped the pressure on Porteiro. The French drivers were having a good race, since Salignon took 6th place from Miguez. Pilet took the lead with two laps to go, but he then made a costly error at the chicane and ended up spinning. Valles took full advantage, taking the lead on his way to his second win of the season.
Markus Winkelhock inherited third place ahead of a highly unfortunate Patrick Pilet. The French Formula Renault 2.0 Champion finished in front of fellow countrymen Tristan Gommendy and Erci Salignon. Celso Miguez, Davide Rigon, Jaap Van Lagen and Ferdinando Monfardini were the other drivers in the points.
Adrian Valles: "My straight-line speed wasn't great due to the aerodynamic set-up. I was just looking to hold onto 3rd place when I saw the Porteiro/Pilet fight shaping up. I thought to myself that I might have a chance to get past and that's exactly what happened!"
Felix Porteiro: "It was a good race considering the tricky conditions. I had gravel in my radiators, so the engine was heating up. I was less effective towards the end of the race. Patrick (Pilet) braked on a wet part of the track."
Markus Winkelhock: "After a bad qualifying session, I then got off to a poor start. But after that the car was fantastic and I managed to get into the podium places."