Dean Stoneman has been handed a debut outing in GP2 by Carlin this weekend at Sochi, replacing Julian Leal at the British team for the Russian round.

The British driver currently sits third in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series championship after finishing runner-up in GP3 to Alex Lynn in 2014. The Croydon-born driver, who recovered from testicular cancer in 2012, is relishing the challenge of switching to the GP2 cars at a circuit he has fond memories at having taken pole position, a feature win and second place in the sprint race in GP3 last season.

"I'm excited, this will be a new challenge for me to get into a GP2 car," Stoneman said. "I'm not going to know what to expect really until I get out there and get a feel of the car. It's going to be a great experience though and I'm going out to do a good job. It's nice to go back to a track I have good memories of; last year in GP3 was a great weekend for me."

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Team boss Trevor Carlin is welcoming Stoneman with open arms to the team and is delighted to secure 25-year-old's services after competing against him in the junior series for a number of years.

"It's great to welcome Dean to the team," Carlin said. "He is a driver who we have closely watched for many years and someone who is extremely talented. It is great to have the opportunity to work with him this weekend in the GP2 Series and he has already fitted in well with the team back at the workshop.

"We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Julian Leal for all his contribution to the team over the course of this season."

Stoneman will team-mate Sean Gelael in Sochi before returning to his Formula Renault 3.5 duties with DAMS for the season finale in Jerez.