Since the start of the season, the leader of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series has been Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport). The Dutchman has a comfortable lead of 41 points over Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) with only eight races left to run. Van der Garde's rivals no longer have a choice: they must take risks at the Nürburgring to turn things around.
In Hungary, Van der Garde had mixed fortunes: good when he claimed his fourth victory of the season on the Saturday; bad when, with fourth place within easy reach, he finished Sunday's race in the gravel trap. Even if his retirement didn't cost him too many points, as he still has 41 more than the championship's second-placed driver, Van der Garde should take the his crash as a warning. In motorsport, nothing is decided in advance and things can change rapidly!
To prepare fully for the end of the season and to take the forthcoming races in his stride, Giedo Van der Garde has been following a training regime in Finland accompanied by Heikki Kovalainen. With the Nürburgring and Le Mans meetings just one week apart, Van der Garde knows that the next few weeks will be a decisive time!
The Hungaroring round allowed Julien Jousse to move up into second place in the championship. The Frenchman from the Tech 1 Racing team has yet to win a race this season, but with three podiums finishes to his name, including two second places in Hungary, Jousse has broken away from the chasing pack. A win would confirm his place as Van der Garde's most dangerous rival.
Another name to watch is Fabio Carbone (Ultimate-Signature) who is steadily making progress. With one pole position, one podium finish and one win in Hungary, the Brazilian has built on all the work undertaken by the Ultimate-Signature during winter testing, a team taking its first steps in the formula. Now that the team has gotten into its stride, its expectations are rising!
Before setting his sights any higher, however, Carbone needs to work on consolidating his third place. With 41 points, he is closely followed by Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com), Bertrand Baguette (International Draco), Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport), Marco Bonanomi (Red Devil Team Comec), Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing) and Alvaro Barba (Prema Powerteam). These seven drivers are separated by just nine points. With six different race winners (Van der Garde, Carbone, Duran, Baguette, Wickens and Pic) and fifteen different drivers having set foot on the podium, the potential race winners are numerous.
For some, the second half of the season, which kicks off at the Nürburgring is a good opportunity to get their campaign going again. Motivated by his first podium finish of the season at the Hungaroring, Miguel Molina (Prema Powerteam) intends to move up in the standings. After a superb return to the discipline at Monaco, Fairuz Fauzy (Fortec Motorsport) knows that he must quickly gain ground if he is to keep up with the front-runners.
Lastly, the rookies are well worth watching. As well as Charles Pic, already a winner at Monaco, Alexandre Marsoin (Epsilon Euskadi) will be trying to pursue the agenda set in Hungary. Pablo Sanchez (Interwetten.com), regularly in the top ten since the beginning of the season, could also be in line for a good result.
Nº Team (Home country) Drivers (Citizenship) Rookie
1 TECH 1 RACING (FRA) Julien JOUSSE (FRA) 2 TECH 1 RACING (FRA) Charles PIC (FRA) R 3 INTERNATIONAL DRACO RACING (ITA) Bertrand BAGUETTE (BEL) 4 INTERNATIONAL DRACO RACING (ITA) Marco BARBA (ESP) 5 CARLIN MOTORSPORT (GBR) Mikhail ALESHIN (RUS) 6 CARLIN MOTORSPORT (GBR) Robert WICKENS (CAN) 7 EPSILON EUSKADI (ESP) Mario ROMANCINI (BRA) R 8 EPSILON EUSKADI (ESP) Alexandre MARSOIN (FRA) R 9 PREMA POWERTEAM (ITA) Miguel MOLINA (ESP) 10 PREMA POWERTEAM (ITA) Alvaro BARBA (ESP) 11 RC MOTORSPORT (ITA) Claudio CANTELLI (BRA) R 12 RC MOTORSPORT (ITA) Duncan TAPPY (GBR) R 14 PONS RACING (ESP) Aleix ALCARAZ(ESP) R 15 PONS RACING (ESP) Marcos MARTINEZ (ESP) 16 KTR (BEL) Siso Cunill (ESP) R 17 KTR (BEL) TBA 19 INTERWETTEN.COM RACING (AUT) Salvador DURAN (MEX) 20 INTERWETTEN.COM RACING (AUT) Pablo SANCHEZ (MEX) R 21 P1 MOTORSPORT (GBR) Giedo Van Der GARDE (NED) 22 P1 MOTORSPORT (GBR) Pippa MANN (GBR) 23 FORTEC MOTORSPORT (GBR) James WALKER (GBR) 24 FORTEC MOTORSPORT (GBR) Fairuz FAUZY (MAS) 25 RED DEVIL TEAM COMTEC (GBR) Marco BONANOMI (ITA) 26 RED DEVIL TEAM COMTEC (GBR) Pasquale DiSABATINO (ITA) 27 ULTIMATE-SIGNATURE (GBR) Fabio CARBONE (BRA) 28 ULTIMATE-SIGNATURE (GBR) Esteban GUERRIERI (ARG)