Andy Soucek is the latest name to confirm his presence on the new FIA Formula Two Championship grid in 2009 - with Jonathan Palmer tipping the Spaniard to be a 'serious contender' for the series' crown.

Soucek is the first of his countrymen to sign up to Formula Two, but he has already competed against some of the drivers he will be challenging on the circuit this season, most notably Russian Mikhail Aleshin, whom he raced in both the World Series by Renault in 2006 and GP2 in 2007.

The Madrid-born star has an impressive pedigree, with Spanish F3 Championship glory in 2005 - a triumph that led to a test outing with Toyota's Formula 1 team - preceding a World Series title push in 2006, and two solid if unspectacular seasons of GP2 in 2007 and 2008, notching up four podium finishes for DPR and Super Nova along the way.

Encouragingly, one of those rostrums came on home turf in Valencia, where Formula Two's inaugural campaign will get into gear at the end of May - and Soucek is clearly in confident spirits ahead of his new challenge.

"I am very happy to be racing in F2," the 23-year-old enthused. "It is a category with a long history and tradition, where many famous drivers have progressed into Formula 1. My target is still F1 and I am convinced that through the FIA and Jonathan Palmer's MSV organisation, F2 will provide a fantastic championship where the finest drivers can achieve their dream.

"Some of the F2 drivers have previously been my rivals in other series, but many others I do not know so well. I am sure there will be more than one surprise, but I am convinced that I have the experience to fight for the F2 title. This is my goal, as the Superlicence and official Williams F1 test drive are both attractive rewards."

Palmer - chief executive of championship organisers MotorSport Vision - professed himself similarly enthusiastic about Soucek's arrival.

"Andy is another fabulous addition to the 2009 Formula Two line-up," the former grand prix racer stated. "As recently as last November he was demonstrating his pace by topping the times in a World Series by Renault test.

"He is an international race-winner and has already tested F1 machinery, so Andy will clearly be a serious contender for the championship. Having already achieved a podium at Valencia in GP2, he will certainly be one to watch when the season gets underway at the same circuit in May."

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