BARCELONA - The grand finale

BARCELONA - The grand finale

25.10.2007: BARCELONA - The grand finale

Monza • Zolder • Nürburgring • Monaco • Budapest • Spa • Donington • Magny-Cours • Estoril • Barcelona

The 2007 World Series by Renault is set to reach its climax in Catalonia, on the Montmelò race track. Whilst Brendon Hartley has already wrapped up the Eurocup

Formula Renault 2.0 title, the winners of the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 and Eurocup Mégane Trophy titles remain to be decided. Both championships are currently led by Tech 1 Racing’s Portuguese drivers: Alvaro Parente and Pedro Petiz.

In the headlines: Maxime Martin

Fourth in last year’s Belgian Formula Renault 1.6, Maxime Martin has given new impetus to his career since he joined Eurocup Mégane Trophy. Despite being quick, both in qualifying (seven front row starts) and in the races (three fastest race laps), he has often missed out on race wins due to time lost in the pits. Which is particularly

frustrating, considering that he is the driver that has spent the most time in the lead in this season’s races: 298km (28%), way ahead of Dimitri Enjalbert (167km)! In Estoril, the Boutsen Energy Racing driver put things right by winning the Sunday race. He now lies third in the Eurocup and he fully intends to stay there!

Just as in 2006, the season is set to draw to a close in Barcelona. Whilst the teams apply the finishing touches in their preparation of the cars, the drivers themselves prepare to play out the final act of a season that has so far been full of incident.

And there may be more to come! Of the seven available international titles, only one was decided in Estoril. Thanks once again to his unfailing consistency, Brendon Hartley (Epsilon Red Bull) wrapped up the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title. The fight for the runner-up spot still promises to be exciting, given the variety of potential outcomes. For the moment, the advantage is with Jon Lancaster and Charles Pic (SG Formula), but the gaps remain slim.

Obviously, the highlight will be the final round of the World Series Formula Renault

3.5. Admittedly, Alvaro Parente comes to Catalonia with a solid 22-point lead, which is seven more than before the Estoril weekend.

Consistent more often than not, the Portuguese ace showed however that he is not infallible. Ben Hanley (Prema Powerteam), who has had his fair share of misfortune this season, will be ready to take advantage of the slightest error. For this final meeting, dare we dream of a real head-to-head fight between these two talented drivers? So far, the contest between the two drivers has been at arm’s length. The duo has yet to have the chance to go head-to-head on the track for a race win. In concentrating on his fight with Parente, Hanley must not, however, forget about Milos Pavlovic (Draco Racing), the "Sunday man", who is only a few points adrift.

In Eurocup Mégane Trophy, the title race is between the two Tech 1 Racing drivers: Pedro Petiz and Dimitri Enjalbert. The former has a clear lead in the championship standings, but the latter vows to continue to attack for as long as he has a chance! In the race for third-place, all eyes will focus on the fight between Maxime Martin (Boutsen Energy Racing) and Ralph Meichtry (Race Performance).

Two national categories round off the weekend’s sporting programme. Ahead of the final round at Jerez at the start of December, the Spanish Clio Cup will feature on the Catalan race track for the second time this season. Armed with a comfortable lead, having won three out of the five races so far, Fernando Navarrete looks on course to take the title. This season’s other race winners, Martin Bozal and Nacho Gabari, will be hoping to stop Fernando in his tracks.

The top two in the French Formula Renault 2.0 Championship are already known: Jules Bianchi and Mathieu Arzeno. It’s now just a question of seeing who will join them on the final podium…


Miguel Molina: a driver with a feel for the sea!

• 18 years old

• Born in Lloret de Mar (Girona)

• Current studies: Fitness and then studying for admission to the INEFC

• Most recent achievements: Winning a race in the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 (Estoril) and passing my driving test first time around!

How are you going to approach this last meeting of the season in front of your home crowd?

"To be honest, Barcelona will be just like any other race. Obviously it is my home race and my friends are preparing to turn out en masse to support me, including organizing a special bus shuttle service and a huge hospitality event, because my Team, Pons Racing, is also from Catalonia. But, still, I have to remained just as focussed as I was at Magny-Cours or Estoril."

Isn’t Lloret de Mar that place where teenagers go to party in the summertime?

"Oh, not at all this Summer. For 10 months a year, it is just a peaceful place by the sea. I love living there. It’s not too small, but not too big either. There are some special hidden spots like the area at Castell or "La Dona Marinera".

I can’t find the R (Rookie) in the time sheets but you deserve that one more than some other drivers?

"Yes. Actually I had some spare budget last year and wanted to do some F3 racing in the UK but finally it didn’t work out, so I took the risk of signing a three-meeting deal with GD and I bagged some points!

You must have received a lot of special messages on your voicemail after your recent win. Which is the most special to you?

"A message from Mathius, someone I have known since I was 4. When I was just a child and I was starting out in Go-Karts, he always kept promising me that he was going to quit smoking if I was made it onto the podium or won a kart race, but he never kept that promise. Yesterday, he said to me "Sh----t, in the end you are going to force me to have to give up smoking!"

What can you learn from a former Motorcycle World Champion?

"When Sito Pons comes to a race, it is not simply to hang around. He wants to know absolutely everything and always takes an in interest in how people are doing on his Team. He takes me to some points on the circuits and we analyse the data together. He draws maps and discusses things with me, always in a positive way! Although he

doesn’t come to meetings very often, it’s so worth it when he does!"

Best day and worst one in the Series Formula Renault 3.5 so far?

"The worst moment was in Spa [where Miguel’s car literally flew up and over the other cars when another competitor ran into him]. When I see the pictures, it makes me scared. It could have been a fatal day for my parents, you know? My best moment could turn out to be this weekend, if I win!

Let’s talk about your future plans for 2008!

"Definitely I would like to stay in the World Series Formula Renault 3.5, hopefully as a Title contender. For me it would be a dream come true! As I said at the press conference, I’ve already realized a dream of mine just by beating some of the guys on the grid, who are far more experienced than me!"


A few good men Jaime Alguersuari: el minero

• 17 years old

• Born in Barcelona (Spain)

• Current studies: 2ª de Bachillerato (equivalent to 2nd year of A-levels)

• Most recent read: Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

Tell me about the up and downs you have experienced throughout the year?

"The highlight of my season has to be Hungary. And the most difficult moment was definitely in Zolder, when I missed out on the podium due to a mechanical failure."

After two years in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, will you step up to another championship next year?

"Of course I will! But I will have gained a lot of experience. Somehow this season has turned a little bit sour for me! But I have demonstrated that I have what it takes to be a front-runner!

You have made it into the runnerup spot in the Italian Formula Renault 2.0 Championship, and in the Eurocup, you still have a chance of finishing in the top five. Can you explain the main differences between these two series, if there are any?

"The most important one is rivalry. In the Eurocup, the competition between drivers is so tight! And there are two more teams! That means that 1 or 2 tenths makes the difference between being in pole and being in P6!"

Do you feel the weight of being the son of one of the Series bosses?

"Not at all. My father never puts any pressure on me. I put the pressure on myself, because I want to be someone tomorrow and in the future. And for the closest of tomorrows (Monday), I will be at school at 8 o’clock! But there are a lot of suspicious people out there, you know that! I just want to get away from it all and show that I can be as fast as anyone!"

You have been racing since you were 7, were a member of the Red Bull Junior Team and are racing in two series this year, etc… Do you regret not be able to live the life of a «normal teenager»?

"I don’t feel I have missed out on anything. But I have had to say no to some things. And not all teenager drivers do that. I want to be more than a just another racing driver. I love to discuss things and keep on learning as much as possible. I want to go to University and be someone in the future. I am open to many things like music, as well as other motorsports. One day I would love to do the Dakar Rally!"

You like to play in your own music sessions. It’s one of your hobbies. What’s the best song you’ve ever heard in your life?

"Music is all about feeling. And there are different tempos and rhythms in life. My favourite song, would you believe, is actually "Soy Minero" (which translates as «I’m a miner») by Antonio Molina. It tells a beautiful story about how hard life can be for a miner that has to work like mad to survive! It is a very sensitive song and I’m a very emotional person. For me, "The End of It All" (John Tejada) reflects the mood of victory, as does the theme music to "Chariots of Fire" by De Vangelis. I cry every time I hear at it!"


Roberto ‘Teto' Merhi: "one to watch"

• 16 years old

• Born in Benicassim (Castellón)

• Current studies: 1º de Bachillerato (equivalent to first year of A-levels •Last level of studies before moving onto further education)

• All-time favourite movie: "National Treasure" (Walt Disney Pictures)


How old were you when you met your coach Felix Porteiro?

"Well, actually he met me. I was only four. My father gave him his very first kart for Christmas (a Tonikart). His father is one of my dad’s best friends."

What is your view of your first Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup Season so far?

"I have had the chance to compete against guys like Hartley, Alguersuari, Pic and Alcaraz and put in some strong performances both in the races themselves and in Free Practice. They are of course way ahead of me but it has not always been like that. In my karting days, I beat Pic many times, like in the European Final in 2005."

Do you think this is the best championship to step up into from karting?

"There is no doubt about it! In Spanish F3, people know nothing! Here you really have to sweat things out. The competition in every session is really tight! 21 drivers all within the space of one second! Woahhh!

Tell us about your very best moment so far this year…and the worst one, of course.

"My best moment was at the beginning of the Season when I started to perform well! It was completely unexpected. The worst moments were at Donington Park and Magny-Cours. I was simply unable to perform up to scratch in Qualifying."

Does your mum feel scared when you race?

"Not at all. She never comes to the races because for some reason she thinks she will bring me bad luck!"

What do you have in mind for the next season?

"It’s too early to talk about that yet. Next year, all the front-runners are going to move up in the world and I do not know if I will stay here or step up! You never know what will happen if you stay around for one more year. Winning the Title is never guaranteed!"

Last year you were in Karting. Who will be the one to watch next year if they make it into single-seater racing!?

"Jenkins, Stevens, Miki Monrás and Da Costa: those are the names to remember!"

Benicassim is renowned for its delicious rice specialities. And the FIB (International Alternative Music Festival) of course. Any special tips when it comes to food or music?

"I love house music and electro. My favourite tracks are by David Guetta and Antoine Clamaran. But it terms of food, I’m not a typical Spanish guy. I do not like "Jamón", "Tortilla de Patatas" or "Paella"… as for me, "Tagliatelle al Ragú" is what I like!"


Coming ahead of the launch of the Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup, the final round of the 2007 French Championship will be held at the Barcelona track. As Jules Bianchi (SG Formula) and Mathieu Arzeno (Epsilon Sport) are already sure of finishing in the top two positions, the focus of this final meeting will be on the fight for the third spot on the podium. There are no fewer than six drivers still in the running!

A four-time winner this season, Bianchi is now the only driver to have finished in the points in every race so far. Hi secured the title in the second race at Magny-Cours by combining a fifth place finish with the point awarded for the fastest race lap. Meanwhile, Mathieu Arzeno took the points for fourth, thus ensuring he would finish as runner-up. At Barcelona, the two men will nonetheless be determined to finish their season in style. They will no doubt play a key role in deciding which of the six to eight drivers still in contention will grab the final podium spot.

Third position has been held by Alexandre Marsoin (SG Formula) since Magny-Cours. The man from Deux-Sèvres in Western France moved ahead of Tristan Vautier (Graff Racing), who hasn’t finished in the top three since Dijon, way back in May!

Back in the thick of things at Magny-Cours, Charles Pic (SG Formula) moved into the top 5 at the expense of Pierre Combot (Cram Compétition). All of these drivers could however be outdone by the Englishman Jon Lancaster, who is the man in form as the season draws to a close. The SG Formula driver has picked up four race wins since September: three in the Eurocup (at Donington & Estoril) and one in the French Championship (Magny-Cours). Like Tristan Vautier, Nelson Lukes (Epsilon Sport) has been off the pace in recent races. The rookie remains in with a chance, however, of finishing on the final podium.

Once again, the British teams will be out in force. Alexander Sims will be racing for Manor Motorsport, whilst Fortec Motorsport is entering three cars for Alex Morgan, Riki Christodoulou and Paul Rees respectively. Last but not least, Double M Racing will make its French Championship debut with Aaron Steele.


In pursuit of Navarrete

Third podium spot up for grabs

Created in 1971, the French Formula Renault Championship is set to undergo a major change in 2008. Just as the German Championship has become the North European Cup, the French series is to acquire a more international dimension and will be known as the West European Cup. Born of the combined expertise of Signature and RPM, this championship will feature eight two-race meetings: four held in France (Nogaro, Dijon, Magny-Cours and/or Le Mans), two in Spain (Valencia, Barcelona), one in Portugal (Estoril) and one in Belgium (Spa). Clearly, the basic principles stay the same and ensure that sporting equity and limited season costs will be maintained: limited number of private tests and tyres, sealed engines with single preparation engineer, presence of spare parts warehouse, etc.

A new championship in 2008 The Spanish Clio Cup competitors will line up in Barcelona for the sixth of the seven events on this year’s race schedule. With three pole positions and race wins this year (Barcelona, Valencia and Jarama), Fernando Navarrete looks to be on course to succeed Luís Calleja as champion. Should he manage another pole position/race win combination, the Team Elias driver would wrap up the title this weekend!

It would appear that one-time winners Aleix Bozal (Cartagena) and Nacho Gabari (Albacete) are more likely to be fighting it out for second place. But both men should keep a close eye on Daniel Mesalles and Javier Mingorance (Junior standings leader), who are only a few points behind!

The excellent performances of Marta Suria are also well worth a mention: the top female driver currently lies 12th overall.



- Jérôme Roussel, Blanca de Foronda- also photos


25.10.2007 / MaP

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Worldseries Formula Renault 3.5 - Spa-Francorchamps – Race 2 Milos Pavlovic (Draco Racing) has had to wait 43 races for his first ever victory in World Series Formula Renault 3.5! The Serbian driver held off Ben Hanley (Prema Powerteam), who is shapi more >>
SPA Race 2 General Result provisional
World Series by Renault --Formula Renault 3.5 1 3 International Draco Racing PAVLOVIC Milos Formula Renault 3.5 . ==20== 2:06.931 2:09.091 RUN 0 0.000 0.000 2 18 Prema Powerteam HANLEY Ben Formula Renault 3.5 . 0.196 2:06.772 2:08.717 RUN 0 0.000 0.000 3 1 DURAN Salvador Formula Renault 3.5 R 0.685 2:06.831 2:08.277 RUN 0 more >>



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