Coletti to return with Rapax in 2013
19 October 2012
Monaco's Stefano Coletti is to return for another season in 2013, after confirming a full-year deal to drive for Rapax next year.
Coletti switched to Rapax for the final two races of 2012 in Monaza and Sinagpore after splitting with Coloni, who in any case are departing the GP2 season following the end of this year's championship after citing disagreements with the series organiser.
That potentially left Colotti without a seat for next year, but his two-weekend stint with Rapax clearly went well and the two parties have agreed to pair up and make a go of it for the title next year.
"This is really a great opportunity for me and I'm looking forward to starting the next season," said the 23-year-old racer. To continue the work done together since the next test in October, after two races with them in the last part of 2012, would represent a fantastic platform to prepare the new season."
Rapax managing director Andrea Bergamini was equally thrilled about the possibilities this gave the team for 2013, after a lacklustre campaign this season that saw them finish in ninth place in the team championship after having an unsettled line-up during the year that started with Tom Dillmann lining up alongside Ricardo Teixeira, before sponsorship problems led to the talented Dillmann being replaced by Daniel de Jong and later by Coletti.
"We're very excited to be able to keep working with someone like Stefano as he's an high-quality driver," said Bergamini. "We followed him since the start of his GP2 Series career and, when the chance to run him in the last two rounds of the 2012 championship came, we decided to go for it. The decision to keep working together for 2013 was a natural consequence of the relationship.
"I'm also really happy with the moment this decision came," he added. "Usually the teams use the autumn tests to evaluate the possible candidates for the following year, [but instead] we will be taking full advantage of the sessions to start some early preparations for the season".
Coletti first appeared in GP2 for two race weekends in 2009 with Durango, and then signed up for a full season at Trident in 2011 that saw him net two race wins but which ended prematurely when a back injury sustained in a racing accident in a wet Spa feature race sidelined him from the season finale at Monza.
Coletti managed only one podium and six other points finishes with Coloni in 2012, and the mutual disenchantment saw them split after this year's Belgian event with Coloni opting to recall their 2011 star Luca Filippi to the fold, while Coletti looked toward next year with the option to move to Rapax.
"I am strongly committed to get the best out of this opportunity while doing the best possible job for the team," he said of his plans for 2013. "Rapax has shown that it is an excellent place for a young driver to work and I intend to make the most of this opportunity.
"Let me thank the owners and all the management in Rapax, for the commitment showed to get this deal done and also my sponsors and my Family for supporting me again," he added.
Other drivers who have announced deals to participate in the GP2 post-season test sessions at Barcelona and Jerez include include Britain's AutoGP champion Adrian Quaife-Hobbs. He'll try out at Barwa Addax for the first test at the Circuit de Catalunya before switching to Arden for Jerez.
"My plan for 2013 was to make a step up to GP2, and so I was pretty amazed when I realized the amount of interest that my Auto GP title win had generated in the GP2 paddock," said Quaife-Hobbs. "I really got a lot of contacts and to me that meant a lot: it's good to have different options when you must choose how your career will progress."
Argentine driver Facu Regalia will also be taking part at the Catalunya tests later this month, working with iSport and Racing Engineering. Regalia also competed in Auto GP in 2012, and finished in seventh place while also competing in the European F3 Open. The 20-year-old admitted that it had proved to be a "hard year for us, competing in two different championships," but had certainly proved to be productive ones.
"Our victory in Hungary in Formula 3 and other podium finishes at Brands Hatch, Paul Ricard or Nurburgring proved my skills as a racing driver," said Regalia. "I clinched podium finishes in Auto GP too at Cheste and Hungaroring rounds. Now I ́ve a nice opportunity to test a GP2 car, and I can ́t explain how happy I am and my motivation right now.
"I want to show my progress as a driver during the recent years," he added. "I know how difficult GP2 is, it ́s the highest level behind F1, and there are plenty of drivers with experience taking part. Anyway my target is to give my best and prove my skills. Concerning iSport and Racing Engineering, I know they are winners and their racing backgrounds show it.
"GP2 is my goal for next year, and this test is our first step to take," he said.