The World Series in glorious Technicolor!
The green fields of Donington Park were swamped with people this weekend as the crowds flocked to the British round of World Series by Renault. Under the clear blue skies, spectators were able to roam freely around the circuit and paddock to make the most of the various attractions. But when the red lights went out, everyone had their gaze fixed firmly on the track so as not to miss a moment's thrilling racing. And no-one would say they were wearing rose-tinted spectacles!
91,246 spectators at Donington Park!
The rush for invitations once they were made available for the fifth round of the World Series by Renault 2006 meant we were expecting the event to be a success and we were not disappointed. Exactly 91,246 made it to Donington Park this weekend. This figure equals the record attendance for the circuit set at the MotoGP here in 2004. 34,000 spectators were in attendance on the Saturday and on Sunday the figure was more than 57,000.
Donington: clear domination
Each of the international Renault Sport disciplines was dominated by a single driver over the weekend. In World Series Formula Renault 3.5, it was the Swedish driver Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing) who finally had his first taste of success by winning both races. This performance puts him right back in the race for the title! Despite being disqualified from race one for unsportsmanlike driving, Chris Van der Drift (JD Motorsport) still dominated both Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 races. In the Eurocup Megane Trophy, Matthieu Lahaye (Tech 1 Racing) confirmed that he is becoming a force to be reckoned with by taking two more victories to follow on from his win and a podium spot at the Nurburgring.
Robert makes an impact!
Throughout the weekend everyone in the World Series by Renault paddock was keeping a close eye on what Robert Kubica was up to in Monza. The BMW Sauber F1 Team driver duly managed to take a podium spot in only his third Grand Prix. A result which may come as a surprise to many, but perhaps not to those who followed his impressive performance in the 2005 WSR season with the Epsilon-Euskadi team.
World Series still far from decided
Since the start of the season, it has been a nail-biting experience to follow the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 with three or four drivers constantly in the frame for the overall title. Well, now there are five! The big winners from this weekend in Donington are Andy Soucek (Interwetten.com) and Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport) who gained several more points over Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA) and Alvaro Parente (Victory Engineering). But now these four will also have Alx Danielsson to deal with.
Formula Renault 2.0: Groppi takes French title
Currently lying fourth in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 despite having only contested four out of ten races, Laurent Groppi took the French FR 2.0 Championship title in Albi this weekend. At Le Mans, the Graff Racing driver will make his return to the Eurocup to try and move further up the standings. This weekend, the North European Cup is also to be decided in Austria. Currently first and third in the Eurocup, Chris Van der Drift and Filipe Albuquerque are both in with a shout for the title. At the same time, drivers in the Italian FR 2.0 Championship, currently dominated by Dani Clos, will be back in action in Varano.
Megane Trophy: a superb line-up for Le Mans
The Eurocup Megane Trophy field will be bolstered by the return of several big name drivers in Le Mans. Last year's runner-up in the category, Renaud Derlot will be rejoining TP Competition / Moteur Huger for the occasion. Frederic Gabillon will also be climbing back behind the wheel of his Megane for Team Lompech Sport. Fred will be with us once again in Barcelona for the final round of the season. Last but not least, Franck Mailleux also looks likely to extend his fruitful partnership with TDS.