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Caterham lures van der Garde back to GP2

Giedo van der Garde is set to return to the GP2 Series for a fourth season after all, after agreeing to lead Caterham Racing's championship bid in 2012.
Dutch driver Giedo van der Garde looks set to return to GP2 in 2012, after agreeing to race for Caterham Racing in the feeder series this year.

The reports follow the announcement earlier this month that van der Garde had been signed up as Caterham F1's test and reserve driver for 2012. He made his début in the Grand Prix car two weeks ago during testing at Jerez.

The news of van der Garde's signing is expected to be formally confirmed by the Caterham team on Monday, along with an announcement as to who his 2012 team mate will be.

This would be van der Garde's fourth full season in GP2, after stints with iSport in 2009 and two years with Barwa Addax in 2010 and 2011. Van der Garde had looked set to be one of the main challengers for last year's championship and went into an early joint lead with iSport's Sam Bird.

But after the strong start to the season, van der Garde's progress faltered as the season progressed. He found himself pushed down the rankings by the dominance of Romain Grosjean and by late surges from the likes of Jules Bianchi and Luca Filippi, as well as strong competition from his Barwa Addax team mate Charles Pic (who will himself now make his F1 début in 2012 with Marussia.)

Van der Garde had previously said that he wasn't interested in another year in GP2 and that it was F1-or-nothing in 2012, but Caterham has presented him with an opportunity that gives the 26-year-old the best of both worlds.

"I am very happy to gain F1 experience and race GP2 with Caterham Racing team at the same time," said van der Garde, explaining why he was tempted back into GP2 after all. "The combination of testing and developing with the Caterham F1 Team and racing GP2 with the same team is ideal for me.

"This means that I will go to all the F1 races, and racing a full GP2 season too which keeps me sharp," he added. "Spending the whole year with the F1 team on the road, and with only a few days of Friday practice available, you miss the rhythm. I just want to continue racing next year."

Van der Garde also sees a return to GP2 as a way of using his experience in the series to help boost his Caterham squad to a new level in the feeder series.




Related Pictures

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Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) celebrates his feature race victory on the podium with Giedo Van der Garde (NED, Barwa Addax Team) and Davide Valsecchi (ITA, Team AirAsia). Valencia Spain. 25th June 2011. [Photo credit: Glenn Dunbar/GP2 Media Service.]
Giedo Van der Garde (NED, Barwa Addax Team). Round 4. Valencia Spain. 24th June 2011. Friday Qualifying. [Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Giedo Van der Garde (NED, Barwa Addax Team). [Photo credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
2011 GP2 Series - Giedo Van der Garde (NED, Barwa Addax Team). [Picture credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Giedo Van der Garde, (NED, Barwa Addax Team) [World Copyright: Drew Gibson/GP2 Media Service.]
Pierre Gasly (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) in pit lane at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
The car of Pierre Gasly (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) is retrieved after a first lap accident at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Rio Haryanto (INA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Rio Haryanto (INA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Pierre Gasly (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) at Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. 6th September. Thursday 4 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Pierre Gasly (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) at Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. 6th September. Thursday 4 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Tom Dillmann (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) at Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Friday 22 August 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Tom Dillmann (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) at Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Friday 22 August 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Alexander Rossi (USA) EQ8 Caterham Racing
Rio Haryanto (INA) EQ8 Caterham Racing
Rio Haryanto (INA) EQ8 Caterham Racing
Rio Haryanto (INA) EQ8 Caterham Racing
Alexander Rossi (EQ8 Caterham Racing) leads the field at the start of the sprint race at the Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria. Sunday 22 June 2014. (Photo: Steven Tee/GP2 Series Media Service.)

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