For those aspiring to take the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 title, Magny-Cours may well provide one of the last chances of putting pay to Alvaro Parente's plans of taking the title. Ben Hanley (Prema Powerteam) and Filipe Albuquerque (Epsilon...
For those aspiring to take the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 title, Magny-Cours may well provide one of the last chances of putting pay to Alvaro Parente's plans of taking the title. Ben Hanley (Prema Powerteam) and Filipe Albuquerque (Epsilon Euskadi) will be looking to upset the apple-cart at Tech 1 Racing's home race.
Though he is the only driver to have won two races so far this season, Alvaro Parente is by no means immune to error. This was clear to be seen in both Budapest and Donington: when the pressure is on, the Portuguese driver can sometimes be a little too hasty. At Magny-Cours, Simon Abadie will be setting the Championship leader a very clear target: to take a third victory and go well clear in the Championship! Parente will also be able to count on the support of his teammate Julien Jousse, who took his first podium finish at Donington Park!
20 and 24 points behind Parente respectively, two drivers have established a clear gap over the rest of the field. Despite a disappointing weekend in front of his home crowd at Donington, Ben Hanley still has to be the leader's fiercest rival. The RDD driver, who is still looking for his first victory of the season, usually tends to attack the races with such gusto that it makes up for his sometimes lacklustre qualifying performances.
As the third man in this power struggle for the title, Filipe Albuquerque has been somewhat in the shadow of his rivals for the last two meetings. But we shouldn't be too harsh on the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 winner, who is, after all, only in his first season racing at this level and still has plenty to learn about harnessing the full potential of the 425bhp at his disposal.
A little bit further back down the Championship standings from Hanley and Albuquerque, Milos Pavlovic (Draco Racing) currently lies in fifth overall thanks to three podium finishes largely due to the reverse start grid system. But the Serbian's position of domination within the Italian team is coming under increasing pressure from Alvaro Barba, who put an end to a series of mishaps to drive to victory in the UK. While the title is now but a far off prospect for the Spaniard, certainly don't rule him out to take the victory!
Another who will be looking to climb to the top of the podium is Guillaume Moreau (KTR). He also put an end to an unbelievable run of bad luck when over on the English side of the channel. Having taken his first podium finish, the man from Limoges would love to hear Magny-Cours resound to the tune of the Marseillaise! His teammate Bertrand Baguette, another French-speaking driver, will be looking to achieve a similar result. Only in his case it would be the Belgian national anthem.
With ten different winners and seventeen different podium finishers so far this season, it would be hard to draw up a comprehensive list of favourites. But Mikhail Aleshin and Michael Ammermuller (Carlin Motorsport), Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com), Marco Bonanomi (RC Motorsport), Fairuz Fauzy (Cram Competition) and James Walker (Fortec Motorsport) will all be names to look out for.
With more than their fair share of finishes outside the points or DNFs in recent times, Clivio Picione (RC Motorsport), Giedo van der Garde and Charlie Kimball (Victory Engineering), Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi) and Miguel Molina (Pons Racing) will all finally be looking to get back to winning ways.