The final win goes to Winkelhock
Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA) wrapped up the 2005 World Series by Renault by winning his third race of the season. The German won in front of Adrian Valles (Pons Racing), who ends up as runner-up to Robert Kubica. Patrick Pilet (GD Racing) concluded a superb weekend with third place. 47,000 spectators attended this final meeting of the series, which has attracted close to 700,000 fans over the course of the season.
Patrick Pilet was the quickest away and led going into the first chicane, ahead of Felix Porteiro. Behind these two, there was some serious jostling, with more than half of the field forced to take a somewhat unconventional line. On braking at the first chicane, Porteiro dragged Pilet into the gravel. Winkelhock took over the race lead, followed by Valles, Porteiro, Kubica, Zuber and Pilet.
The three leaders built up a lead whilst Robert Kubica was forced to make an early pit stop due to a puncture. A little further back, Zuber had to fight to defend his 4th place from Pilet's attacks.
Lap 5 saw the pit stop window open. Mondini, Pavlovic and Montanari were the first to come in. Pilet, Monfardini and Gommendy followed suit a lap later. Robert Kubica ended his fine season with a rather flat weekend: the Polish driver was forced to abandon on lap 7 due to broken suspension after clashing with another competitor.
Porteiro came in after eight laps, leaving Winkelhock and Valles to lead the race and Andreas Zuber to move up to 3rd. He was in front of Matteo Meneghello and Jaap Van Lagen. At the half-way stage, ten or so drivers appeared to have opted for a late pit stop strategy.
The two leaders dove into the pit lane at the same time, after 13 laps, and they came back out in the same order. Valles was happy to follow Winkelhock's race: second place was enough for him to finish as Championship runner-up!
With the leaders in the pits, Matteo Meneghello took over at the helm. In front of his home crowd, the Italian stayed out until lap 18. Ryan Sharp took over the lead as he was the only driver not to have come into the pits before the window closed! Having changed his tyres during the formation lap, the Scottish driver only risked a 20-second penalty.
Markus Winkelhock was the virtual leader, in front of Adrian Valles, Felix Porteiro, Patrick Pilet, Andreas Zuber, Jaap Van Lagen and Matteo Meneghello. The German was behind Sharp who decided against putting up any real fight.
The focus of attention over the final three laps was on the Porteiro/Pilet fight for third place. Felix made a mistake at the chicane but managed to hold off Pilet on the straight. But Patrick then managed to get past. On the same lap, Valles got past Sharp.
Markus Winkelhock therefore picked up his 3rd win of the season, ahead of Adrian Valles, who becomes runner-up, and Patrick Pilet. Porteiro, Zuber and Van Lagen finished ahead of Sharp, after his penalty was added. Meneghello, Montanari and Pavlovic also finished in the points.
Markus Winkelhock: "We responded well in between qualifying and the races. This win means I finish third in the championship, which is a great result."
Adrian Valles: "We changed the aerodynamic set-up in order to increase the straight line speed. I couldn't get past Markus on the first few laps because there were so many yellow flags. After that, my tyres were just too worn."
Patrick Pilet: "This podium finish wraps up a fantastic weekend. We were quick in all the conditions. Unfortunately, Felix clipped me and I had to fight with the car throughout the race. If it hadn't been for that, I might have been able to win."