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Preview: Formula Renault 3.5 title to be settled in Barcelona

by Peter Allen

Photo: Renault Sport/DPPI

Three drivers have emerged from an extremely competitive field, and one of them will be crowned Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion after two last races at Barcelona this weekend…

Despite a top class driver line-up in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series this season, three drivers have proven themselves to be a cut above the rest. Almost since day one, Jules Bianchi, Robin Frijns and Sam Bird have been embroiled in a three-way title fight, and only one will leave the Circuit de Catalunya as the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

Victory on home soil at Paul Ricard last time out moved Bianchi into a crucial lead ahead of the decisive win. The Ferrari protege and Force India reserve is on a strong run of form that has seen him come from behind to catch and pass his rivals, and will be keen to secure the title as he tries to land an F1 race seat for 2013.

Whatever the result on Sunday, Frijns will have been the biggest star of the season. After winning the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title last year he coped with the significant step-up to be amongst the pacesetters all weekend. A difficult time at Paul Ricard saw him lose the standings lead, but he’s only five points behind Bianchi.

Bird has lost a little bit of ground in the last couple of weekends and therefore lies 24 points away from Bianchi, but the Mercedes F1 reserve is ready to capitalise if the two main contenders hit trouble.

The action kicks off at the Circuit de Catalunya with two test sessions on Friday ahead of Qualifying 1 on Saturday at 10:40 local with the first race at 15:00. On Sunday qualifying is at 9:50 with the race again at 15:00. Both races are live on Eurosport, with @PaddockScout also covering the weekend on Twitter.