Meeting with a legend One month after the opening round at Zolder, the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 is to take to the streets of Monaco. The pressure on the shoulders of the thirty drivers who will participate in the curtain-raiser to the...
Meeting with a legend
One month after the opening round at Zolder, the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 is to take to the streets of Monaco. The pressure on the shoulders of the thirty drivers who will participate in the curtain-raiser to the 64th Monaco F1 Grand Prix could hardly be greater. Those who headed the field in Belgium, Eric Salignon (Interwetten.com) and Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport), will have to contend with at least twenty possible candidates for victory, including Christian Montanari (Prema Power Team), the winner here in 2005.
This season, the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 will make two excursions outside of the scope of the World Series by Renault and into the world of top-class motorsport at Monaco (May 27-28) and Spa-Francorchamps (July 28-29). This will provide the drivers with two opportunities to familiarize themselves with the legendary circuits which they may one day race on in Formula 1. Under the gaze of F1 team managers and former cohorts, such as Kubica, Kovalainen, Monteiro, Mondini and Winkelhock, the thirty drivers will be eager to excel on a circuit that is unforgiving of even the slightest error.
Last year, Christian Montanari made a clean sweep by taking both the pole position and the race win. Obviously, the man from San Marino would like to repeat the feat but he is remaining cautious: "It would be fantastic to win again here, but at Monaco you can't take anything for granted."
No-one seems about to disagree with the Prema driver's assessment. Least of all Eric Salignon, who leads the overall standings after taking both wins in Zolder: "I come here full of confidence, but this meeting is very specific. With so little free practice, you have to find the right setup very quickly to ensure you qualify well. It is so difficult to overtake during the race that you have to be right up there at the front of the grid."
After making it onto the podium twice in Belgium, Borja Garcia currently lies in second in the overall standings. Even if he is a newcomer to WSR, the Spaniard will be able to draw on his experience from GP2, in which he raced here at Monaco last year.
Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA), Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing) and Steven Kane (Epsilon Euskadi) have also made a pretty successful start to the season. Other drivers have shown potential without being able to convert it into results. The most notable names on this list are James Rossiter (Pons Racing), Ben Hanley (Cram Competition), Andy Soucek (Interwetten.com), Patrick Pilet (GD Racing), Enrico Toccacelo (Eurointernational), Colin Fleming and Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport).
Robbie Kerr (KTR), Alvaro Parente (Victory Engineering) and Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi), who have all remained quiet so far, will have to quickly set things right if they don't want the leaders to get too far ahead.
There will be a change in the lineup at Comtec Racing. Edwin Jowsey will be replaced by the impressive Jaap Van Lagen, who finished second in Monaco last year. After suffering an injury to his hand in Zolder, Matteo Meneghello (GD Racing) has also been given the go-ahead from doctors to take part in the race at Monaco.