1 January 1901
Comtec seat opens up to outcasts.
The number of high-profile names left on the market following confirmation of the GP2 Series line-up for 2006, should make Comtec boss Jonathan Lewis' job of replacing Susie Stoddart a little easier.
The Scottish lass has been confirmed as a member of Mercedes' DTM squad, vacating a confirmed seat at Comtec less than a couple of months ahead of the opening round. While Canadian A1GP star Sean McIntosh has tested with the Snetterton-based outfit, and remains under consideration for the second seat, the recent publication of this year's GP2 line-up throws another handful of names into the World Series ring.
Lewis has already vowed to have two top-line drivers in his team, despite it being Comtec's first season at the top of the Renault ladder, and has been linked to another A1GP frontrunner, Robbie Kerr, by some quarters. Another Briton, Westley Barber, remains an outside possibility, despite his career having stalled at lower levels in recent years, leaving Lewis to cast his eye over drivers with WS and GP2 experience.
F3 graduate Danilo Dirani and second year WS runner Jaap van Lagen are the other drivers to have tested with Comtec over the winter, with the Dutchman looking particularly impressive. The waters have been muddied, however, by the inability of Juan Cruz Alvarez, Can Artam and, perhaps most surprisingly, Borja Garcia to land a GP2 ride, leaving them as viable options for those WS teams with vacancies to fill.
Of those to have tested a WS car before Christmas, series veterans such as Eric Salignon, Ryan Sharp, Damien Pasini and Patrick Pilet continue to mix with aspiring newcomers including the impressive Andy Soucek, Xavier Maassen, Alejandro Nunez, Yann Clairay and Renger van der Zande among those yet to confirm deals for 2006.
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