Spa-Francorchamps - Preview
One thing is for sure: Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport) was the man on form in Monza. With one pole position and two victories, giving him a haul of 31 points out of the 31 on offer, the Dutchman totally shut down the competition. At Spa-Francorchamps, he'll be looking to do the same again. But the 25 other drivers in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series won't be out to make it easy for him. They are all ready and willing to hit back in style!
Just one week on from the opening round in Monza, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series field will be in action again at another legendary track, namely Spa-Francorchamps. The first two races of the season were spectacular, action-packed affairs, but one man above all stood out from the crowd and his name is Giedo Van der Garde.
At Monza, Van der Garde celebrated his 23rd birthday by putting in a faultless performance, clocking up all 31 points available over the course of the weekend. This means he'll go to Spa-Francorchamps in a new guise, that of the man to beat. A source of additional pressure perhaps? "My performance over the weekend at Monza means I can feel more relaxed" explains the Championship leader. "I secured my first pole position and followed up with my first two wins! So it's good to have that under my belt. I enjoy the Spa-Francorchamps circuit so I'll be hoping to keep my momentum."
At Spa-Francorchamps, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series will once again be running as part of the World Series by Renault, an event aimed at a wider audience, which never fails to pull in the crowds. The race format will return to the usual setup for 2008. For the first time, a SuperPole system will be used and a mandatory pit-stop, with two tyre changes, will be enforced in the second race. Will that make it possible to even out the odds?
Whatever the case, there are plenty of willing candidates eager to put an end to Giedo Van der Garde's current run, not least Bertrand Baguette (International Drago Racing). Racing close to home, the driver backed by the Royal Automobile Club de Belgique will be looking to bounce back from a difficult weekend in Monza. "I was up with the pace, my car was performing well, but we simply did not have any success. We suffered a technical problem when I was out in the lead in race one and then there was that misunderstanding with Fabio Carbone (Ultimate Signature) in race two, the end result being a DNF for me in both races. So for me the answer is quite simple: I have to win at Spa".
Another driver who looks certain to be in the hunt for victory is Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing), who currently lies second in the Championship standings. The Spaniard Alvaro Barba (Prema Powerteam) has to be another potential candidate for victory, and the same can be said of three other drivers all currently on the same number of points, namely Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing), Pasquale DiSabatino (Red Devil Team Comtec) and Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport).
For others, this second meeting of the season will be seen as more of a revenge match. Off the pace at the first weekend of the season, drivers such as Marco Bonanomi (Red Devil Team Comtec), Fabio Carbone (Ultimate Signature), Guillaume Moreau (KTR) and Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com Racing) will be keen to rack up as many points as possible. All these men, who have shown that they are quick at Monza, need just that little bit success to transform that turn of pace into victory.
For the weekend's two races, the main aim of nearly every driver in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series field will to buck the current trend. Except perhaps for one.
Num Team Driver Nat
1 TECH 1 RACING Julien JOUSSE FRA 2 TECH 1 RACING Charles PIC FRA 3 INTERNATIONAL DRACO RACING Bertrand BAGUETTE BEL 4 INTERNATIONAL DRACO RACING Marco BARBA ESP 5 CARLIN MOTORSPORT Mikhail ALESHIN RUS 6 CARLIN MOTORSPORT Robert WICKENS CAN 7 EPSILON EUSKADI Mario ROMANCINI BRA 8 EPSILON EUSKADI Alexandre MARSOIN FRA 9 PREMA POWERTEAM Miguel MOLINA ESP 10 PREMA POWERTEAM Alvaro BARBA ESP 11 RC MOTORSPORT Aleix ALCARAZ ESP 12 RC MOTORSPORT Borja GARCIA ESP 14 PONS RACING Maximo CORTES ESP 15 PONS RACING Marcos MARTINEZ ESP 16 KTR Daniil MOVE RUS 17 KTR Guillaume MOREAU FRA 19 INTERWETTEN.COM RACING TEAM Salvador DURAN MEX 20 INTERWETTEN.COM RACING TEAM Pablo SANCHEZ MEX 21 P1 MOTORSPORT Giedo Van Der GARDE NED 22 P1 MOTORSPORT Pippa MANN GBR 23 FORTEC MOTORSPORT James WALKER GBR 24 FORTEC MOTORSPORT TBA 25 RED DEVIL TEAM COMTEC Marco BONANOMI ITA 26 RED DEVIL TEAM COMTEC Pasquale DiSABATINO ITA 27 ULTIMATE-SIGNATURE Fabio CARBONE BRA 28 ULTIMATE-SIGNATURE Claudio CANTELLI BRA