Two more seats in the all-new World Series by Renault have now been allocated, with confirmation that two potential frontrunners, Milos Pavlovic and Christian Montanari have signed deals with GD Racing and Draco Multiracing USA respectively.
Pavlovic won last year's Formula Nissan-supporting World Series Light with Italian team Vergani, before graduating into the senior series towards the end of the season. With Vergani not being offered a place on the World Series roster, Pavlovic and GD began talks some time ago, finally reaching an agreement for the coming campaign, which starts at Zolder on 1 May.
"I feel very honoured to be part of a top team like GD Racing," Yugoslav Pavlovic commented, "They have what is needed to be a serious contender for the title and, personally, I loved the teamwork there. That is one of reasons that makes me believe that, together, we are the perfect combination."
GD has yet to sign a team-mate for Pavlovic, but ran FIA F3000 refugee Raffaele Gianmaria in both the recent tests at Paul Ricard and Barcelona, and team manager Cristiano Giardina hopes to make an announcement soon.
"Milos has been under observation for a long time," Giardina revealed, "I met him last summer and he impressed me a lot, even though we were on a go-kart circuit. He is a team man, not just a talented driver. Likewise, our goal is to win the series and not simply go racing."
Unlike Pavlovic's announcement, Montanari's signing with Draco came as something of a surprise, not because it happened, but because of the timing of the deal. The Italian team, reigning Euro 3000 champion, hinted earlier in the week that it would not reveal the identity of Markus Winkelhock's team-mate until after it had had the chance to test the definitive World Series car later this month, but has now confirmed Montanari alongside the already-signed German.
Like Pavlovic, Montanari started his motorsport career in karts, before moving up to single-seaters four years later, in 2001. He began to attract attention in 2003, when he took second place in the Italian F3 Championship, despite running the unfancied Lola-Dome, and made his F3000 debut with Coloni at the end of the year. Last season, he contested the end of season rounds of the now defunct Formula Renault V6 series, winning races at Imola and Dubai despite his lack of experience with the cars.
“I have chosen Christian because I think he's a good driver from every point of view," Draco team owner Adriano Morini explained, "There's nothing else to be said - we have to work hard and wait for the results.”
Draco tested several other candidates for its second seat over the winter, most notably Euro 3000 frontrunner Jonny Reid and FIA F3000 refugee Olivier Tielemans, before settling for the Winkelhock-Montanari combination.
“We have reached this agreement after weighing up the performance of a lots of candidates," team manager Nadia Morini commented, "I'm happy with this choice, and I think that having two drivers like Markus and Christian will be positive, for both the team and the drivers. There has never been a San Marino driver in the history of Draco, so that's one first already!”