And then there were three Thanks to his perfect weekend at Nurburgring, Filipe Albuquerque (Motopark Academy) is once again hot on the heels of Chris Van der Drift (JD Motorsport) and Dani Clos (Jenzer Motorsport) in the Eurocup Formula Renault...
And then there were three
Thanks to his perfect weekend at Nurburgring, Filipe Albuquerque (Motopark Academy) is once again hot on the heels of Chris Van der Drift (JD Motorsport) and Dani Clos (Jenzer Motorsport) in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 overall standings. The title will most probably go to one of these three drivers, unless Carlo Van Dam (SG Formula) can make up some ground.
Like the World Series Formula Renault 3.5, this year's Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 looks set to go down to the wire. After last year's head-to-head between Kamui Kobayashi and Michael Ammermeller, the end of the 2006 season promises a three-way battle for the title, and there are plenty of drivers who will be determined to have their say in the final outcome.
At Nurburgring, Filipe Albuquerque claimed maximum points by winning both races. The Portuguese driver continued his winning streak at Anderstorp, where he prevailed in the North European Cup (NEC), thus taking top spot in the overall standings. With his confidence running high, he must now carry on this rich vein of form if he is to close the nine-point gap separating him from Chris Van der Drift.
Despite only having recorded one win in the Eurocup, the New Zealander seems to have things under control. With Albuquerque and Groppi out of reach at Nurburgring, he settled for finishing ahead of Dani Clos, whom he considers to be his most serious rival for the title. The JD Motorsport driver, a more consistent performer than his rivals, will nevertheless have to up his game to preserve his lead.
Having led the field for half the distance covered so far this season, Dani Clos remains the championship's top performer. A changed man since he joined Jenzer Motorsport, he has kept on notching up the victories: three in the Eurocup and six in a row in the Italian Championship, which he is dominating in spectacular fashion. Now just two points behind Van der Drift, Dani knows he can reclaim top spot in the U.K.
Outside the top three, there are a number of drivers capable of taking centre stage. Fifth in the overall standings behind Laurent Groppi -- who will be continuing his quest for the title of French Champion in Albi this weekend -- Carlo Van Dam has shown admirable consistency, collecting points in seven out of his last eight races. However, having recorded only two podium finishes, the Dutchman has some considerable catching up to do if he is to compete for the title. He will need to cause a few upsets along the way.
Atte Mustonen, (Koiranen Bros) onetime Eurocup leader, has dropped off the pace. The Finn will have to see off competition from Kasper Andersen (JD Motorsport), Bertrand Baguette (Epsilon Euskadi) and Tom Dillmann (SG Formula) to hold onto his sixth place.
It is also worth watching out for the next generation of drivers, who are capable of upsetting the favourites from time to time, like the American John Edwards, who recorded his first victory at the NEC in Anderstorp at the tender age of 16!
There are two British drivers competing in the Eurocup. Pippa Mann (Comtec Racing) is set for a busy weekend, as she will be also competing in the British Formula Renault 2.0 Championship. Martin Plowman (Prema Power Team) will, like his fellow Brit, be trying to score his first points of the season. Being on home soil will hardly be an advantage, though, as this is his first season in single-seater racing!