British racer Dean Stoneman will have a chance to continue his 2014 GP3 Series championship campaign after sealing a last-minute switch to the Koiranen GP race team for Sochi and Abu Dhabi.
Stoneman looked set to face the rest of the season from the sidelines, after Wednesday's announcement that his former team Marussia Manor Racing would not compete in GP3's maiden race weekend in Russia at the Sochi Autodrom, citing 'commercical reasons' for the decision.
That left Stoneman without a car for this weekend, along with his Marussia Manor team mates Patrick Kujala and Ryan Cullen. The team had added that it was still evaluating whether it would be able to return to the grid for the final race weekend of the season at Abu Dhabi on November 21-23.
Stoneman was the most recent race winner in the series after claiming victory in the second race at Monza last month, adding to his two previous successes of the year at Barcelona and Spa. All told, the 24-year-old from Croydon is currently in eighth place in the standings with 95 points.
Stoneman will now have a chance to continue his 2014 season after signing up to take over the seat of the #7 Koiranen GP car from Carmen Jorda. It will mean that Stoneman will now have a brace of new team mates in the form of Santiago Urrutia and Jimmy Eriksson.
"Dean Stoneman proved to us last year that he could adapt to our car and drive it to the top level,' said Koiranen GP's CEO Afa Heikkinen on Thursday, announcing the signing.
"This year he proved to everyone that he could win races," he added. "So of course we are delighted to have him with Koiranen GP until the end of the year."
The confirmation that Stoneman will also race for the team at Abu Dhabi throws fresh doubt on whether Marussia Manor Racing will appear on the GP3 grid again this season. Stoneman's former team mates Kujala and Cullen are yet to announce any plans for the rest of the year.
UPDATE: Kujala has secured a late race deal to take over the #24 Trident seat from John Bryant-Meisner, with the team fielding nly two cars this weekend. Meanwhile Russian rookie Nikolay Martsenko takes over the #17 Hilmer Motorsport car from Sebastian Balthasar.
The now-23-car field will gets its first run on the brand new Sochi Autodrom circuit on Friday evening with practice scheduled for 5pm local time (2pm BST). At 3.634 miles and 18 turns, Sochi will be the third longest circuit currently used in the series - only Silverstone and Spa are longer.
Qualifying will take place on Saturday morning at 9.30am (6.30am BST). The first of the two 15-lap races is on Saturday afternoon at 1.40pm (10.40am BST) with the second on Sunday morning at 11am (8am BST). All these sessions will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports F1.