Can Van der Garde take the title?
Estoril - Presentation
Everything is in place for Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport) to take his first motorsport title. The penultimate meeting could see the Dutchman, who leads Fabio Carbone (Ultimate-Signature) by 53 points, crowned champion. With just 62 points still to play for, Giedo has plenty of room to maneuver! The calculators are out and everyone is doing their sums. Everyone, that is, except for Giedo Van der Garde! Championship leader since the first race of the season, the P1 Motorsport driver is just one step away from the title.
With eight podium finishes, including five wins, Van der Garde must continue his form without putting himself under unnecessary pressure. The odds are stacked in his favour, as mathematically, only Fabio Carbone is capable of catching him. To keep his hopes of the title alive, Carbone must score 22 points more than Van der Garde in Portugal. The title hopes of Tech 1 driver Julien Jousse's slipped away at Le Mans. Even if the Frenchman claimed both pole positions at Estoril and Barcelona as well as winning the four remaining races, he would still lose out to Van der Garde on his number of wins.
The fight for second place is very hotly disputed. Since his first win in Budapest, Fabio Carbone has become Van der Garde's main rival. However, Carbone will have to work hard in Portugal to defend second place. Julien Jousse has by no means given up the fight, and after a mixed weekend at Le Mans, he will be pulling out all the stops. Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) and Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com Racing) are also lining up to steal the coveted runner-up place.
Carbone can count on one major ally in the form of teammate Esteban Guerrieri. The two Ultimate-Signature drivers showed just how well they work together at Le Mans, where Guerrieri finished on the podium (the sixteenth driver to do so in 2008) for the first time this season after taking his first pole position in the category. The South American duo are fueling Ultimate-Signature's hopes of a Team title. The Anglo-French team is only nine points adrift from Tech 1 Racing, who are only seventeen points behind P1 Motorsport. Tech 1 Racing and Ultimate Signature will therefore put everything they have into this battle, and the fight between Julien Jousse, Charles Pic, Fabio Carbone and Esteban Guerrieri can only be more exciting for it.
As the end of the season draws near, chances to make a mark are running out fast. Nevertheless, with 2009 just around the corner, some drivers need to shine. Race winners already this year, Bertrand Baguette (International Draco), Miguel Molina (Prema Powerteam) and Robert Wickens (Carlin Motorsport) need to stage a comeback before the final curtain.
Miguel Molina could well play a decisive role in these two final meetings. With a new lease of life since his second place at Le Mans, the Spanish driver comes to his two favourite circuits, Estoril and Barcelona, where he won last season. He is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
N° Competitor (Country) Driver Country 1 TECH 1 RACING (FRA) Julien JOUSSE FRA 2 TECH 1 RACING (FRA) Charles PIC FRA 3 DRACO RACING (ITA) Bertrand BAGUETTE BEL 4 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 8 EPSILON EUSKADI (ESP) Alexandre MARSOIN FRA 9 PREMA POWERTEAM (ITA) Miguel MOLINA ESP 10 PREMA POWERTEAM (ITA) Alvaro BARBA ESP 11 RC MOTORSPORT (ITA) Claudio CANTELLI BRA 12 RC MOTORSPORT (ITA) Paolo Maria NOCERA ITA 14 PONS RACING (ESP) Aleix ALCARAZ ESP 15 PONS RACING (ESP) Marcos MARTINEZ ESP 16 KTR (BEL) Siso CUNILL ESP 17 KTR (BEL) Sergey AFANASIEV RUS 19 INTERWETTEN.COM RACING (AUT) Salvador DURAN MEX 20 INTERWETTEN.COM RACING (AUT) Pablo SANCHEZ MEX 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 COMTEC RACING (GBR) Marco BONANOMI ITA 26 RED DEVIL COMTEC RACING (GBR) Pasquale DiSABATINO ITA 27 ULTIMATE MOTORSPORT (GBR) Fabio CARBONE BRA 28 ULTIMATE MOTORSPORT (GBR) Esteban GUERRIERI ARG