Who will be King of the Ring? A week after the Spa-Francorchamps meeting, the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 drivers gather at the Nurburgring circuit as they move into the second half of the season. In the heart of the Eifel mountains,...
Who will be King of the Ring?
A week after the Spa-Francorchamps meeting, the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 drivers gather at the Nurburgring circuit as they move into the second half of the season. In the heart of the Eifel mountains, the top four will all be attempting to move clear. Who from Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport), Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA), Andy Soucek (Victory Engineering) and Alvaro Parente (Victory Engineering) will come away with the championship lead?
No sooner had the second Spa race finished, were the mechanics from the fifteen World Series teams busy trying to service -- or rebuild -- the cars, before heading straight for the Nurburgring. Since two days of collectives testing were organized at this track at the start of April this year, the meeting will not start until Friday morning with two 45-minute free practice sessions.
Four drivers confirmed themselves as the championships favourites in Spa. By claiming his first win of the season, Borja Garcia moved back to the top of the overall standings. RC Motorsport has clearly found the right setup again. The Spaniard should once again be able fight it out consistently with the front runners.
Pastor Maldonado, on the other hand, has been among the leaders throughout the season. After an unhappy weekend in Misano, he came back strongly in Spa, converting his form into a hatful of points. Maldonado took 30 points out of a possible 34 and now lies only two points behind Garcia!
Andy Soucek would appear to be best placed to compete with Maldonado in terms of out-and-out performance. Despite carrying an injured wrist after crashing during free practice, the Madrid driver gritted his teeth and managed to collect two podium finishes. With seven points finishes from nine races, the Interwetten driver has so far shown great consistency. The only uncertainty for the German round is to what extent his wrist will have recovered.
Alvaro Parente, the leader going into the Spa round, came away having dropped back to fourth in the championship standings. Eliminated from the first race in a stupid incident, after Matteo Meneghello drove into him in the pit lane, the Portuguese driver lost out on a certain high-points finish. Points that would have kept him nearer to the leaders. But he remains more than capable of closing the nine point gap to Garcia.
Despite picking up points in the last three races, Eric Salignon (Interwetten.com) seems to be gradually drifting out of the title race. He really needs to produce a faultless performance this weekend in Germany if he is to go into the summer break with his spirits high.
Anything less could see the Frenchman come under pressure from a group of drivers who have been improving over the last few races. Admittedly, Ben Hanley (Cram Competition), James Rossiter (Pons Racing), Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi) and Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing) did not make the most of last weekend's meeting. Sean McIntosh (KTR) needed no further invitation to move up to join the group fighting it out to make it into the top 5!
The starting line-up for the meeting looks likely to undergo a few changes before Friday's opening session. Carlin Motorsport and Comtec Racing will announce the names of the replacements for Sebastian Vettel and Jaap Van Lagen at the start of this week. At Tech 1 Racing, Marco Bonanomi can expect to be involved again after making a very promising debut last weekend.