Pic wins, Baguette crowned champion
20 September 2009
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.
His position was assumed by Fairuz Fauzy, who continued to add fuel to the rumour he will be racing in F1 next season with Malaysian-backed Lotus by securing a second podium finish of the weekend for the Mofaz Fortec team.
Although he was forced to concede defeat in his fight for this year's title, James Walker continued to battle on for the runners-up spot in fourth place, the Briton inching clear of sixth place Jaime Alguersuari, the pair having been equal on points coming into the race.
Baguette split the two in fifth place to secure a first World Series title for Draco Racing, the team finally achieving their objective after coming close on numerous other occasions.
Further back, Marco Barba heightened Draco spirits further in seventh place, with John Martin scoring again in eighth for Comtec, while Daniil Move and Chris van der Drift completing the points.