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Julian Leal signs with Trident for 2012

Colombian driver Julian Leal has been signed up by Trident Racing to partner Stéphane Richelmi for the team's 2012 GP2 championship campaign.

21-year-old Colombian driver Julian Leal has successfully claimed the second seat at Trident Racing for 2012, putting him alongside the previously-announced Stéphane Richelmi.

"I'm really satisfied with the deal reached with Trident Racing. I know them really well after we raced together in 2010 [in Auto GP] and last Autumn in Abu Dhabi [at the GP2 Final]," said Leal. "I'm sure we'll be doing a great job together."

The announcement makes Trident only the second team to have completed its driver line-up for next season, with Lotus ART having already confirmed that Esteban Gutiérrez and James Calado will be driving for them in 2012. Other confirmed drivers so far include Marcus Ericsson returning to iSport, Kevin Ceccon at Coloni and Nigel Melkur at Ocean Racing.

"This will be my second season in GP2: my goal is to take full advantage of the experience gained in 2011 and step on the podium as often as possible," setting his objectives and expectations for the coming year.

His experience will make him the default team leader, and he was taking that responsibility seriously as he looked ahead. "It will be a first season in GP2 for my teammate, Stéphane Richelmi, but I'm aware that he can be pretty fast," he said. "I'm certain that by working closely together with him will help our engineers a lot."

Leal spent 2011 with Rapax, but failed to score any championship points in either the truncated GP2 Asia season or the full GP2 European series. He did manage two top ten finishes, at the Valencia and German sprint races. He drove in the two-day post-season test sessions in Barcelona with both Rapax and Barwa Addax, before going on to spend both days of the next test session at Jerez with Trident which obviously proved the best fit for him in terms of a season-long arrangement.

"I want to thank my family, my sponsors and all my supporter for this opportunity," added Leal. "Of course, thanks also to Trident Racing for their trust. I hope to reward everybody by doing a good job on track."

Related Pictures

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GP2 Series Testing Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. 20th April 2011 Julian Leal (ITA, Rapax) World Copyright Malcolm Griffiths/GP2 Media Service
Julian Leal (ITA) climbs out of his shattered Rapax car while in the background Davide Rigon (ITA) attempts to stand in his damaged Coloni before realising the extent of his injuries, as race stewards scramble the safety car and dispatch medical teams. 2011 GP2 series round 1 sprint race - Istanbul Park, Istanbul Turkey - Sunday 8th May. [Picture credit: Charles Coates/GP2 Media Service]
Julian Leal (COL, Rapax) during GP2 testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona. Spain in October 2011. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/LAT Photographic.]
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December 20, 2011 8:45 PM

Wow, what an exciting lineup! Signing those two drivers must be Trident's way of saying "Hello! We're really not that interested in winning but we sure do appreciate a big sponsorship check KTHXBAI."

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