Bertrand Baguette has been crowned the 2009 World Series by Renault champion after a quiet fifth place finish at the Nurburgring cemented the title with one round remaining.
The Belgian needed just four points to become the fifth winner of the title, one that has helped launch the careers of BMW F1 driver and 2005 champion Robert Kubica, as well as GP2 racers Alvaro Parente and Giedo van der Garde.
Finishing in fifth to claim six points, Baguette's three wins and five further podiums, including a timely double victory at Le Mans, means he will get his chance to test a Renault F1 car, as well as put him in a prime position for good GP2 seats in 2010.
“It's been a tough weekend, with a lot of pressure,” he said. “At the start, I had trouble finding the pace. I lost a few places, but I decided not to give it too much thought and just get stuck in. It's my first international title, which is great. I can go to Motorland Aragon without any pressure, just to win more races. We're working on entering F1 next season. That's my goal.”
The race itself was won by Charles Pic, the Frenchman – the pre-season favourite for the title – snatching the lead at the first turn from Tech 1 Racing team-mate Brendon Hartley and never looking back.
Hartley was starting from his maiden World Series by Renault pole position, but didn't have the pace to challenge the Frenchman, Pic's early lead ensuring he had the more favourable pit-stop strategy.
Nonetheless, Hartley, a first-time winner in the Formula 3 Euroseries just two weeks ago, shadowed Pic to the finish line to complete a career-best result at this level.
The final podium spot had looked to be heading towards Jon Lancaster, the Briton determined to make up for the disappointment of being given a ten-second penalty at the end of the first race, the Comtec driver having originally crossed the line in second place.
However, while he posed the closest competition for the Tech 1 pair, Lancaster would not reach the finish line as his car came to a stop just six laps before the finish.