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Aleshin back with Carlin for Turkey
4 May 2011
The Carlin GP2 team has confirmed that the driver line-up for their first race in the main GP2 Europe series in Turkey will be Britain's Max Chilton and Russian driver Mikhail Aleshin.
Aleshin's participation had been in doubt ever since he dropped out of both two-day pre-season GP2 test sessions at Silverstone and Barcelona in April because of problems with his financial backing from one of his key sponsors, followed by an announcement that he would be participating in this year's German Formula 3 series with Russian team Stromos Artline's Arttech F24 Mercedes.
At the time he said that "it is not 100 per cent guaranteed that I can compete in the GP2 championship, but I am working hard on it ... I will continue working to work towards the GP2 budget."
That would have left the #25 car vacant, and there had been hopes that Britain's Oliver Turvey might get the seat after he stood in for Aleshin at both of the two April tests, but it looks as though Turvey is out of luck - at least for now.
However, the team's announcements this week were carefully phrased to make it clear that thus far, Aleshin's position was only for this coming weekend at Istanbul Park.
"It's a great opportunity for me to do this race," said Aleshin. "I would like to say a big thank you to the team for giving me this chance. I have a good feeling about this track; I had my first podium here with Carlin and I'm sure we will be pushing hard to repeat that experience again this year."
The 23-year-old Muscovite previously appeared at two GP2 race weekends with ART in 2007 and represented Russia in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at the Portugal round in 2005. In 2009 he finished third in the FIA Formula Two Championship. He has competed in various Formula Renault series, winning the Formula Renault 2000 Italia in 2004 and the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2010.
"Max and Mikhail are both very talented drivers and like this circuit, so we have a great starting point for our debut in the GP2 Series," said Carlin's racing director, Trevor Carlin. "This is a very exciting moment for Carlin; our first European GP2 race. We're very proud to be here and aim to do a professional, competitive job."
Chilton and Aleshin were Carlin's driver line-up for the truncated four-race GP2 Asia series earlier this year, and Chilton at least is looking forward to a productive full season with the team and has high hopes going into the first weekend as GP2 provides one of the support events to the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Istanbul Park.
"I'm feeling really confident. I had quite a good race here last year and we've been consistently on the pace in testing; never out of the top ten," he said.
Both drivers are wary of the weather, with rain greeting the GP2 and F1 drivers and teams touching down in Istanbul on Wednesday and the forecasts suggesting more of the same ahead.
"It's been wet here so far, so I think we could have an interesting weekend ahead of us if the rain continues, said Chilton. "Istanbul is a fairly high speed circuit, especially the famous turn 8 which is challenging, especially for the tyres as it's a long loading corner. The track is also quite undulating, which means that there are a lot of blind corners and crests.
"That will also make it more interesting if it's wet as there could be quite a bit of standing water," Chilton added. "Wet or dry I'm really looking forward to this weekend."
"The weather could be a big factor this weekend," agreed Aleshin. "But for sure we have a team that can deal with the changing conditions and I'll be pushing to do my best as well."
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