Crash.Net GP2 News
Coletti, Haryanto and Melker head to Abu Dhabi
3 November 2011
Stefano Coletti has signed a deal to race with Scuderia Coloni at next weekend's GP2 Final at Yas Marina Circuit, one of the support events to the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.
The news comes just after the 22-year-old Monaco racer also locked in a trial at Toro Rosso
for the F1 young driver test that follows the Grand Prix weekend, after Coletti proved his return to fitness with a successful two-day test at Barcelona last month.
A regular driver with Trident for most of the season, Coletti had been forced to sit out the last GP2 race of the year at Monza after being left with a fractured vertebrae following a collision with Mikhail Aleshin during a very wet Spa feature race.
Coletti spent the first day of October testing with Dams, but really clicked on the second day when he moved over to Coloni, which saw him set the fastest time of the afternoon session.
"We were in Barcelona together, in a test that for me was also a very important chance to check if my physical recovery after the injury I suffered in Spa was complete," explained Coletti. "On that occasion I got to know a really impressive technical staff, so I'm happy to race in Abu Dhabi with them. I hope for a great result that would allow me to thank the people who are supporting me in the best possible way”.
"I'm really happy to have Stefano with us for the GP2 Final," said Paolo Coloni. "We always looked with interest at his performances, and in Barcelona he confirmed all his talent, being very quick and getting along with the team in the best possible way. Deciding to go in Abu Dhabi together was a natural choice."
Coletti will line up alongside the previously-announced Kevin Ceccon
Meanwhile, Dams - which this season powered Romain Grosjean to the GP2 drivers championship - has announced that it will be fielding 2011 GP3 drivers Nigel Melker and Rio Haryanto at the GP2 Final.
Dutchman Nigel Melker finished in third place in the GP3 championship with victory in the season opener and five podiums during the season, while also competing in F3 Euro Series. He will be paired with 18-year-old Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto, who raced to seventh position in both GP3 (that included two race wins) and Auto GP championships (which saw a win at Valencia) in 2011.
"We're delighted to welcome a couple of new talented drivers from GP3 for the 2011 GP2 final in Abu Dhabi," said Loïc David, general manager at Dams. "After our successful season that ended with the conquest of the drivers' title, we're determined to play a leading role thanks to these promising youngsters who both put on good performances during the end-of-season tests."
Haryanto spent both days at Barcelona with the team, and was looking forward both to the one-off event and to where it might lead next year: "I can't wait to compete in my first GP2 event," he said. "I'm sure that the experience will help me for the 2012 season."
20-year-old Melker tested with Arden at Jerez in September, and with Ocean Racing and iSport at Barcelona in October, but ultimately decided that Dams was the team to go with for his GP2 début.
"I am honoured to drive in the 2011 championship-winning car," he said after the announcement. "I would like to thank the team for this opportunity and the chance they have given me. I am really thrilled to race at the F1 event in Abu Dhabi. This is a good opportunity for me as a rookie to get to know the team and to obtain more experience in this challenging series."