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Rapax confirms 2012 driver line-up
18 March 2012
With the GP2 teams already heading to the first race of the season next week at Sepang in Malaysia, Rapax have announced that Tom Dillmann and Ricardo Teixeira will be their drivers for the 2012 season.
Both drivers tested with Rapax in the final pre-season sessions at Barcelona earlier this month, and the team were happy to make the appointments official five days before the first GP2 practice session of the year.
"We're proud to have with us two extremely valuable drivers," said owner's representative Gianfranco Sovernigo. "Dillmann impressed us a lot in pre-season testing as he showed to be a motivated and professional guy, with all the speed skills needed to leave his mark in 2012."
22-year-old Dillmann competed in last year's GP2 Final event and was runner up in the the Pirelli prize for best 2011 GP3 making his début during the event after finishing equal on points with James Calado.
"I'm delighted to sign in GP2. It hasn't been easy but I never gave up and step by step went my way up here," the French driver said. "It will be my first year with 'big cars', but I don't want to see it as a two- or three-year plan. My goal is to be competitive from the beginning, I know how tough it is to just have the chance to race in GP2."
Dillmann added that he already had "a good connection together with the team" thanks to the pre-season testing and that he was looking forward to Sepang.
Compared with Dillmann's rookie status, 27-year-old Portuguese-Angolan driver Ricardo Teixeira is one of GP2's veterans. He first entered the series in 2008 and then completed a full season with Trident Racing in 2009. Unfortunately he finished the year pointless and consequently moved to Formula Two in 2010 before picking up a post with Team Lotus as their F1 test driver in 2011.
"It's amazing feeling to come back to racing after a big stop specially with the opportunity to drive a nice car like this and make part of such good team and a great atmosphere," he said. "[Rapax] is extremely professional and I think I can learn a lot during this year with them and I'm sure together we can achieve good things."
Owner's representative Gianfranco Sovernigo praised Teixeira's "great commitment" during the pre-season tests and said the team was committed to helping Teixeira continue on his learning curve and in achieving his goals for 2012.
"For team Rapax, the deal reached with Ricardo is also a great opportunity to do our part in developing a driver coming from Angola," continued Sovernigo. "Despite not having a long motor racing history behind, the country has been expressing a lot of passion in the recent years."
The first GP2 race weekend will coincide with the F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia at the Sepang International Circuit next weekend, beginning with practice on Friday morning on March 23.
British driver Jon Lancaster is expected to fill the remaining vacant seat at Ocean Racing Technology in Sepang after testing with the team at Barcelona, leaving only one race seat at Venezuela GP Lazarus still vacant for next weekend. Vittorio Ghirelli and Giancarlo Serenelli both tested for the squad in Spain earlier this month alongside confirmed lead driver Fabrizio Crestani.
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