Just a point in it!
You couldn't wish for a better scenario. Going into the final two races of the season at Barcelona, a single point separates Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy) from Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula). And those two are not the only contenders for the title. Roberto Merhi (Epsilon Euskadi) and Andrea Caldarelli (SG Formula) could still pip them at the post!
The Catalunya circuit is the venue for the final meeting of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season, and the two scheduled races - the last of the year – will be crucial to the outcome of the title race. A thrilling finale is in prospect, with the potential for a few surprises.
Having led the championship from the very first race at Spa-Francorchamps, Daniel Ricciardo lost his first place to Valtteri Bottas after race 2 at Estoril. The Finnish driver will be hoping to build on this reversal of fortunes in Barcelona. Since the Nürburgring meeting, Bottas has been on fire. With three pole positions and three race wins, as well as two third-place finishes and one second place, Bottas has scored 77 points since September, while Ricciardo has managed just 38.
For the first time this season then, Valtteri Bottas goes into a meeting as Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 leader and favourite for the title. But with a lead of only one point, Bottas cannot afford to rest on his laurels. The Motopark Academy driver does, however, have one advantage over his rivals, in that he has already won one title this season: the Formula Renault 2.0 North European Cup.
Roberto Merhi, like Bottas, is enjoying a fine streak of form: two pole positions, two race wins, one second-place and one third-place finish have brought him 70 points since September. It won't be easy for Merhi to make up the eleven-point deficit that separates him from Bottas, but the young Spaniard will have home advantage in Barcelona. The crowd will be behind him, spurring him on to create an upset.
Andrea Caldarelli is still looking for his first victory in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, but remains an outside contender for the title. A difficult weekend at Estoril did not help his chances. But the Italian has shown this season that he is capable of bouncing back from setbacks. Mathematically, he could still be champion. A master tactician, Caldarelli knows when to settle for a minor place, and will seize every opportunity presented to him.
But let's not write off Daniel Ricciardo just yet. His last few races have not been the most productive for him, but his record remains exceptional, with five race wins to his credit. The SG Formula man from Australia will be disappointed to have lost his lead just before the grand finale and will not be satisfied with second place. He wants this title and will be determined to achieve his goal at Barcelona.
Behind the four title hopefuls, the battle for fifth place is wide open. For the time being, Tobias Hegewald (Motopark Academy) has the upper hand over Jean-Éric Vergne (SG Formula), César Ramos (BVM Minardi Team) and Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi). Having often featured in the places, these four will be hoping to finish their season with a podium to set themselves up for a strong season in 2009.