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GP2 Bahrain 2013: Frijns to take over from Daly at Hilmer
15 April 2013
Robin Frijns is to make his race début in the feeder series this weekend in Bahrain, as he steps into the cockpit of the Hilmer Motorsport #22 car in place of Conor Daly.
"We are very happy to have Robin in our car in Bahrain in and we hope that we can do the whole season together," said team principal Franz Hilmer.
Frijns is the test and reserve driver for the Sauber F1 team run by Monisha Kaltenborn, meaning that the 21-year-old Dutch driver has been working alongside the team's regular race line-up of Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Gutiérrez, themselves both graduates of the GP2 Series.
Sauber was known to be keen to have Frijns racing in some championship in 2013 in order to keep him 'race fit' in case he is called upon to take over one of the F1 cars at short notice, and the feeder series which runs alongside F1 Grand Prix events was the obvious choice.
"Good news!," Frijns tweeted on Monday afternoon. "Driving in Bahrain with GP2 team Hilmer Motorsport! Looking forward to get back in the car again!"
Frijns worked with Trident Racing as well as Hilmer Motorsport in the GP2 pre-season tests at Barcelona and Jerez and had been widely expected to take up a race seat in time for the first round of the 2013 GP2 Series season in Malaysia at the end of March.
However, negotiations proved protracted and meant that Hilmer called up American driver Conor Daly to fill the seat in Sepang at short notice instead.
"I would like to thank his manager Werner Heinz and of course Monisha Kaltenborn who both helped make this happen," said Hilmer. "We will do everything we can to help Robin get comfortable in the car and get the chance to be in the front of the grid."
In recent seasons, Frijns has worked his way up through Formula BMW Europe, Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 with Josef Kaufmann Racing, before moving to Fortec Motorsport in 2012 to win the Formula Renault 3.5 Series championship.
It was that title-winning season consisting of four pole positions, three wins and a total of eight podium finishes that caught the eye of the F1 paddock and resulted in his being snapped up by Sauber for reserve duties this season.
Meanwhile, Conor Daly - who was hailed by Hilmer as having a 'fantastiche' début in GP2 in Malaysia last month - has confirmed that he expected to focus on GP3 again this year for his sophomore season.
The American will also bid to make it into next month's 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 after being handed a chance by AJ Foyt Racing.