FR3.5 » 22 March 2006
WS: Shimoda, Salignon close entry list.
The start of the World Series by Renault's first pre-season test coincided with the end of the 'silly season', with the final four seats being filled ahead of the track action at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.
As expected, Hayanari Shimoda has taken the final seat at Victory Engineering, using his Carlin Motorsport connections to join Alvaro Parente in the Italian-based team. The Japanese driver formerly competed in Formula Renault V6, before going on to distinguish himself in both sportscar racing and the new A1 Grand Prix series, where he ran for the Carlin-operated Team Japan. With the British team offering technical assistance to Victory this year, the squad has effectively become a haven for drivers unable to progress from Carlin's 'junior' ranks, with Parente also progressing after winning the British F3 title for Trevor Carlin and going on to race for A1 Team Portugal.
Eurointernational, the only team with two vacancies prior to this week, has also finalised its line-up, signing the untried pairing of Tor Graves and Pascal Kochem. Graves, formerly known as Tor Schriachavanon before adopting UK nationality, cut his teeth in British FRenault and F3, before moving up to the European F3000 series, while German driver Kochem, who steps up after brief spells in both the FRenault Eurocup and German F3 series. He had been tipped to go to Jenzer Motorsport before missing out to Alessandro Bonetti, having tested strongly at the end of 2005, but will have a chance to show his worth at Eurointernational, which produced strong end-of-season performances with Fabio Carbone.
Although four seats were filled in the week prior to testing beginning, only three had been vacant at the start of the week, Interwetten.com sprang a surprise, not least for the two drivers already inked to contracts, by swooping when it realised the experienced WS contender Eric Salignon was still available. The Frenchman ran at the front from time to time last season, but was not retained by the Cram Competition team. Interwetten's decision, however, leaves the Austrian team with a potential problem deciding between Andy Soucek and Carlos Iaconelli for its second car, having only signed both in the past couple of weeks.
The full line-up for the Barcelona test, which runs over 22-23 March, is as follows:
1. Davide Valsecchi Epsilon Euskadi
2. Steven Kane Epsilon Euskadi
3. Pastor Maldonado Draco Multiracing USA
4. Tomas Kostka Draco Multiracing USA
5. Robbie Kerr KTR
6. Sean McIntosh KTR
7. Mihael Aleshin Carlin Motorsport
8. Colin Fleming Carlin Motorsport
9. Celso Miguez Pons Racing
10. James Rossiter Pons Racing
11. Ben Hanley Cram Competition
12. Milos Pavlovic Cram Competition
14. Alvaro Barba Jenzer Motorsport
15. Alessandro Bonetti Jenzer Motorsport
16. Alvaro Parente Victory Engineering
18. Hayanari Shimoda Victory Engineering
19. Matteo Meneghello GD Racing
20. Patrick Pilet GD Racing
21. Eric Salignon Interwetten.com
22. Andy Soucek Interwetten.com
23. Tor Graves Eurointernational
24. Pascal Kochem Eurointernational
25. Borja Garcia RC Motorsport
26. Bruce Jouanny RC Motorsport
27. Alx Danielsson Comtec Racing
28. Edwin Jowsey Comtec Racing
29. Gregory Franchi Prema Powerteam
30. Christian Montanari Prema Powerteam
31. Jerome d'Ambrosio Tech 1 Racing
32. Ryo Fukuda Tech 1 Racing
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