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Monza Beckons Series Leader Wickens

Canadian Heads to Italy with Formula Renault 3.5 Points Lead

Toronto’s Robert Wickens leads the FR3.5 Series after the first two rounds. Photo by Paulo Pellegrini  Canada’s Robert Wickens will look to consolidate his points lead as the 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 Series heads to Italy and the renowned Autodromo Nazionale Monza for Round 3’s double-header meeting this weekend, Saturday 14th – Sunday 15th May.

The 22-year-old claimed a win and a second place last time out at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium to move to the top of the Driver Standings, the Canadian assuming a 14 point advantage over his Carlin team-mate, Frenchman Jean Eric Vergne heading into Monza this weekend.

The 5.79km Italian circuit proved kind to the Toronto-born racer last season when he visited as part of the inaugural GP3 Series season.  Wickens captured a victory and a second place finish in the double-header event before going on to eventually finish Runner-Up in the final 2010 Driver Standings.

“I really like Monza,” Wickens commented ahead of his trip to the home of the Italian Grand Prix and the famed ‘tifosi’.  “Like Spa where we last raced, it’s one of the few remaining old fashioned tracks with lots of history and character.  I had pretty good results there last season with the win and second place so I’m hoping things go that well again this weekend.

“It’ll be a little interesting this time around as we’re part of the World Touring Car Championship package in Italy and not the usual World Series by Renault meeting.  This means we’ll be skipping our usual mandatory pit-stop in Sunday’s race so it’ll effectively be another full-on sprint race from the get go.  Also, because of the low aero levels you run at Monza, they’re lifting the LAC (Low Aerodynamic Configuration) rule for Saturday’s race.  This could add a bit of a twist into how we approach the event!  The competition is tough in this series but I’ll be aiming to keep the points lead exiting Monza!”

Wickens, who enjoys support from Marussia Motors – a co-owner of the Marussia Virgin Racing Formula One team, has continued to blaze a trail in European open-wheel competition since he first raced on the continent in 2008.  With race wins in the F3 Euro Series, A1GP, Formula 2, GP3 and Formula Renault 3.5, Robert has continued to impress while remaining focused on his goal of becoming the first Canadian to reach Formula One since former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve.

The weekend’s Formula Renault 3.5 Series action kicks off in Italy with Race 1 set for 1pm CET on Saturday 14th, while Race 2 starts at 11:30am CET on Sunday 15th May.

2011 FR3.5 Series Top-5 Driver Standings (R2/9): 1st – WICKENS (CAN) 71pts, 2nd – Vergne (FRA) 57pts, 3rd – Rossi (USA) 55pts, 4th – Costa (ESP) 52pts, 5th – Panciatici (FRA) 26pts - www.worldseriesbyrenault.com

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