Monaco is as much the stuff of legend for the World Series by Renault drivers as it is for the world of Formula One itself, as it is their opportunity to race alongside the category they one day hope to join. This Sunday, thirty Formula Renault 3.5 drivers will line up in the Principality of Monaco for the curtain raiser to the 63rd Monaco Grand Prix.
Since 1972, drivers taking part in Renault Formulas have had the privilege to show off their talent in Monaco. So this year's Formula Renault 3.5 World Series event follows on in a long tradition of strong bonds between Renault and this legendary circuit. After the first two rounds in Zolder, the 30 drivers will be keen to be on top form for the single race to be held on Sunday morning between the second qualifying session and the start of the Grand Prix!
For Enrico Toccacelo, Jaap Van Lagen or Damien Pasini, this race has that little something extra-special, given that it is quite simply their favourite race! An opinion shared by Tomas Kostka… even if the young Czech driver only knows the circuit from video games!
The list of participating drivers now includes three new names. The Moroccan driver Mehdi Bennani has signed for Avelon Racing for the rest of the season, alongside Ivan Bellarosa. So the World Series now has drivers from all five continents!
Stefano Proetto (Interwetten.com) has been suspended for this race for dangerous driving in free practice at Zolder. He is replaced by the German driver Sven Barth, who was victorious in Formula Renault V6 in Monaco last year with the same team.
The Dams driver Alx Danielsson, who suffered an ankle injury in an accident in free practice in Zolder, is replaced by the British driver Alex Lloyd, who was 6th in Euro F3000 2004. Furthermore, it is still not confirmed whether the Swedish driver will be back in time for Valencia.
Sven Barth is just one of the many drivers present who are capable of competing for the win here in the Principality. Third and first in the races at Zolder, Robert Kubica (Epsilon Euskadi) is currently at the head of the overall rankings. But the Polish driver has never raced in Monaco, a major handicap shared by his close rival Andreas Zuber (Carlin Motorsport).
In contrast, the experienced Enrico Toccacelo (Victory Engineering) knows the circuit like the back of his hand after racing here for the last three years in F3000! The Italian driver will therefore view this as a golden opportunity to take a second victory in WSR to bring him back up to the two leaders.
The French drivers Simon Pagenaud (DHG Saulnier Racing) and Tristan Gommendy (KTR), the German Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA) the Spaniards Adrian Valles (Pons Racing) and Felix Porteiro (Epsilon Euskadi) would also all like to confirm their good start-of-season form by making it onto the podium in front of the creme de la creme of F1.
As for those who were not quite up to scratch in Belgium, they will see Monaco as a chance to make up lost ground. The most notable drivers in this situation are the Australian Will Power (Carlin Motorsport) and the Dutch driver Jaap Van Lagen, who were hard hit by their lack of success after excellent performances in qualifying. Another driver in the same situation is Giorgio Mondini (Eurointernational), who was the winner of the Eurocup Formula Renault V6 2004 but came away from Zolder without a single point.
1 Giorgio Mondini ITA Eurointernational
2 Matteo Meneghello ITA Eurointernational
3 Andreas Zuber AUT Carlin Motorsport
4 Will Power AUS Carlin Motorsport
5 Adrian Valles ESP Pons Racing
6 Celso Miguez ESP Pons Racing
7 Felix Porteiro ESP Epsilon Euskadi
8 Robert Kubica POL Epsilon Euskadi
9 Enrico Toccacelo ITA Victory Engineering
10 Tomas Kostka CZE Victory Engineering
11 Mehdi Bennani MAR Avelon Formula
12 Ivan Bellarosa ITA Avelon Formula
14 Jaap Van Lagen NLD KTR
15 Tristan Gommendy FRA KTR
16 Simon Pagenaud FRA DHG Saulnier Racing
17 Ryo Fukuda JPN DHG Saulnier Racing
18 Markus Winkelhock DEU Draco Multiracing USA
19 Christian Montanari RSM Draco Multiracing USA
20 Damien Pasini FRA Cram Competition
21 Eric Salignon FRA Cram Competition
22 Alex Lloyd GBR DAMS
23 Pastor Maldonado VEN DAMS
24 Milos Pavlovic YUG GD Racing
26 Frédéric Vervisch BEL GD Racing
27 Patrick Pilet FRA Jenzer Motorsport
28 Colin Fleming USA Jenzer Motorsport
29 Daniel La Rosa DEU Interwetten.com
30 Sven Barth DEU Interwetten.com
31 Karun Chandhok IND RC Motorosport
32 Giovanni Tedeschi ITA RC Motorosport
- Blanca de Foronda -