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iSport takes over Russian Time operations

iSport International has been confirmed as the new operator of the Russian Time GP2 race team for 2014 after the spilt with Motopark.
The Russian Time team will continue in GP2 after all, after it was announced that iSport International will take over racing operations for the team.

iSport had previously been a founding team of the feeder series, but lack of confirmed sponsorship forced the British squad to hand over its championship grid place and race assets to Russian Time 12 months ago, just before the start of the 2013 season.

Russian Time - operated last season by Team Motopark and led by team principal Igor Mazepa - then went on to win the team championship in its maiden season, with driver Sam Bird coming a close second in the drivers championship to Fabio Leimer.

However the shock death of Mazepa earlier this month culminated in a decision by Motopark at the start of this week to sever its ties with Russian Time, leaving the race team's participation in the upcoming GP2 season in doubt.

That's now been addressed by confirmation that iSport are to return to the sport as operators of the Russian Time team, and by the additional announcement of two drivers signed up for 2014.

Nineteen-year-old New Zealander Mitch Evans is to join the team for what will be his second season in the series, after a rookie campaign in 2013 with Arden that saw him secure four podium finishes - including a double at Monaco. Evans moved up to GP2 last year after winning the GP3 Series title in 2012.

For the new season, Evans will be joined at Russian Time by Russian driver Artem Markelov, who will be making his début in the series. Markelov finished second in last year's ATS Formel 3 championship (German F3) with Lotus, and has already spent three days working with Russian Time in the post-season tests last November at Abu Dhabi.

The 19-year-old Muscovite began his open-wheel racing career in 2011 in ADAC Formel Masters competing with Motopark Academy which saw him take eleven podiums in twenty-three races, including one win at Red Bull Ring on his way to fourth place in that year's championship standings.

Markelov's signing means that there is no place in the newly configured Russian Time team for French driver Tom Dillmann, who had been widely expected to retain his place in the squad for a second season after spending 2014 as Sam Bird's team mate.

"It was set that I would stay with Russian Time this year. It's now all in jeopardy," Dillmann tweeted earlier in the week before the official announcement was made public. "Just one more tough time in my career. I'm used to fight[ing]."

Russian Time has also just completed a buy-out of Bamboo Engineering's GP3 operations over the offseason, but it's not clear whether the new arrangement with iSport also means that Russian Time will now also maintain its presence in the junior championship as well as GP2.



Related Pictures

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Mitch Evans (NZL, Arden International) at Monaco on Wednesday, May 22 2013. (World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Mitch Evans (NZL, Arden International) in Sunday`s sprint race in Malaysia (World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Sam Bird (GBR, Russian Time) celebrates with the team after helping them to clinch the GP2 Series teams championship at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Sunday November 3 2013. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Sam Bird (GBR, Russian Time) during practice at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia - March 22 2013. (World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
RUSSIAN TIME logo. (Photo Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service)
2012 GP2 Series Testing at Barcelona, Spain. Wednesday 31st October 2012. .iSport logo. (Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Mitch Evans (NZL, Russian Time) during testing at Bahrain International Circuit on Thursday 20 March 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
ref: Digital Image _SBL8146
Mitch Evans (NZL, Russian Time) during testing at Bahrain International Circuit on Thursday 20 March 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Mitch Evans (NZL) Russian Time in Abu Dhabi for day 3 of pre-season testing on Thursday, March 13 2014. (Photo Credit: Malcolm Griffiths/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Artem Markelov (RUS) RT Russian Time at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi for day 2 of pre-season testing on Wednesday, March 12 2014. (Photo: Malcolm Griffiths/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Mitch Evans (NZL) RT Russian Time at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi for day 1 of pre-season testing. (Photo Credit: Malcolm Griffiths/GP2 Series Media Service)
Russian Time team principal Igor Mazepa with lead driver Sam Bird in 2013. (Photo Credit: GP2 Media Service.)
Sam Bird (GBR, Russian Time) and Tom Dillmann (FRA, Russian Time) celebrate with the team after helping them to clinch the GP2 Series teams championship at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Sunday November 3 2013. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Sam Bird (GBR, Russian Time) is pushed off after stalling on the grid at the start of the feature race at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Saturday, November 2 2013. (Photo: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.)
Sam Bird (GBR, Russian Time) during Friday practice at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on November 1 2013. (Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.)
Sam Bird (GBR, Russian Time) during Friday practice at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on November 1 2013. (Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.)
Fabio Leimer (SUI, Racing Engineering) and Sam Bird (GBR, Russian Time) vie for the 2013 GP2 Series championship title. (World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Fabio Leimer (SUI, Racing Engineering) and Sam Bird (GBR, Russian Time) vie for the 2013 GP2 Series championship title. (World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)

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