Fabrizio Crestani is to return to the GP2 championship, after being confirmed as one of the two drivers for new series entrants Venezuela GP Lazarus in 2012.

Crestani competed in GP2 for the final three weekends of the 2010 season with Dave Price Racing (DPR) after replacing Giacomo Ricci, having previously raced in the GP2 Asia Series with Ocean Racing Technology over the winter of 2008/9. Crestani also has experience of Euroseries 3000, International Formula Master and Formula 3000 Italy, as well as the Italian and British Formula 3 series.

The 24-year-old Italian from Treviso spent 2011 racing for Lazarus in Auto GP, and finished in sixth place in the drivers championship just behind his team mate Fabio Onidi. Along the way, Crestani claimed four podium finishes and a pole position.

His performance clearly impressed the team, and he was naturally at the top of the short list for drivers for their GP2 operation once it was confirmed that Lazarus were entering the series in 2012 as replacements for the departing Super Nova Racing squad.

"I'm really delighted to welcome Fabrizio to the Venezuela GP Lazarus," said team founder Tancredi Pagiaro. "I know him very well: last year in Auto GP he demonstrated to everyone his potential and I'm sure that he will do the same in GP2."

Crestani gave "very special thanks" to Pagiaro for the opportunity to step up to the GP2 feeder Series in 2012. "[He] has always believed in my potential: we have a very close relationship," said the driver.

With their late entry into GP2, Venezuela GP Lazarus still face an uphill battle to get everything in place for the start of the season. They have to be up to speed before the first official pre-season testing scheduled for Jerez between February 28 and March 1, and the start of the season itself at Sepang in Malaysia on March 24-25.

"We know this will be a big challenge but we are ready for it and cannot wait to get started," Pagiaro admitted. "It's time to work very hard together: that's the only way to achieve good results."

"I am sure they will be able to be on pace very quickly," GP2 Series CEO Bruno Michel insisted last week at the announcement of Venezuela GP Lazarus' entry to the championship. "They are a great addition to our competitive field of thirteen teams."

"I know it will be hard, but I'm impatient to start testing and be competitive right from the start," added Crestani. "I am eager to start the new season: racing in GP2 is a dream come true."

The team will announce the name of their second driver at a later time.