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Duno to join Doornbos on NHLR squad?


The team behind Robert Doornbos has again attempted to temper speculation that the Dutchman has inked a deal to join Newman/Haas.Lanigan Racing - just as the rumour mill cranks up a notch with claims that the squad is to expand this season.

While many IndyCar Series teams are being coy about the size of their line-up for 2009, NHLR has veered from possibly being a one-car outfit centred around the returning Graham Rahal to potentially bettering all but the Andretti Green Racing behemoth with the addition of a third car for the coming season.

The rumour is nothing new, but the personnel involved have changed, with Sebastien Bourdais now looking more likely to retain his place in Formula One with Scuderia Toro Rosso having once appeared in peril of being dumped after a single season. Amid rumours that the Frenchman may now have sourced the backing to keep his seat safe from the likes of Takuma Sato and Jenson Button, NHLR appears to have turned its attention to one Milka Duno.

The Venezuelan has served her IndyCar apprenticeship with the likes of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing without ever setting the world alight - although she did enflame AGR rival Danica Patrick on one occasion - but has always had access to the sort of sponsorship that erstwhile NHLR incumbent Justin Wilson would have given his eye-teeth for in order to remain on board.

Although speculation suggests that CITGO may or may not be accompanying the sometime model to NHLR, it would appear that Duno has had no trouble coming up with the money to pay for her ride alongside Rahal and, despite the denials, Doornbos.

The Dutchman's official website has again attempted to play down reports in the national press claiming that a deal has finally been struck with NHLR, insisting that nothing will be concrete until an announcement is forthcoming from either party.

"Passing news suggests that Robert Doornbos has a contract to go race for Newman Haas Lanigan in 2009," a posted statement read, "While we gladly affirm that the negotiations with IRL teams are in the last stages, so long as there is no official press message on this website, there is no deal.

"We hope that we can announce Bobby D's plans very quickly [and, if everything goes according to plan, we will see fight Robert in the IRL next season, fighting for the championship.

"At this moment, Robert will focus on A1 Team Netherlands, [with] Jan Lammers' team very close to a first victory of the season."

Doornbos took a podium finish and two front row starts for the Dutch A1GP squad at Taupo last time out.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Milka Duno - Dreyer & Reinbold Racing   [pic credit: IRL/Jones]
Ed Jones - Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Jack Hawksworth tests an IZOD IndyCar Series car at Sebring International Raceway with Rahal Letterman Lanigan on Tuesday, September 17 2013. (Photo Credit: John Hendrick for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth tests an IZOD IndyCar Series car at Sebring International Raceway with Rahal Letterman Lanigan on Tuesday, September 17 2013. (Photo Credit: John Hendrick for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth tests an IZOD IndyCar Series car at Sebring International Raceway with Rahal Letterman Lanigan on Tuesday, September 17 2013. (Photo Credit: John Hendrick for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth tests an IZOD IndyCar Series car at Sebring International Raceway with Rahal Letterman Lanigan on Tuesday, September 17 2013. (Photo Credit: John Hendrick for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth tests an IZOD IndyCar Series car at Sebring International Raceway with Rahal Letterman Lanigan on Tuesday, September 17 2013. (Photo Credit: John Hendrick for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth tests an IZOD IndyCar Series car at Sebring International Raceway with Rahal Letterman Lanigan on Tuesday, September 17 2013. (Photo Credit: John Hendrick for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his test in an IZOD IndyCar Series DW12 Dallara with Rahal Letterman Lanigan on Wednesday September 5 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his test in an IZOD IndyCar Series DW12 Dallara with Rahal Letterman Lanigan on Wednesday September 5 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his test in an IZOD IndyCar Series DW12 Dallara with Rahal Letterman Lanigan on Wednesday September 5 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his test in an IZOD IndyCar Series DW12 Dallara with Rahal Letterman Lanigan on Wednesday September 5 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing co-owner and former Indy 500 champion Bobby Rahal on Bump Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Sunday May 19, 2013. (Picture Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
James Jakes during practice at St Peterburg, Flodica - March 2013, (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal on the second day of pre-season testing at Barber Motorsport Park. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media.)
Announcement of Graham Rahal joining the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team co-owned by his father, Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Announcement of Graham Rahal joining the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team co-owned by his father, Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media
Announcement of Graham Rahal joining the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team co-owned by his father, Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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Don - Unregistered

February 04, 2009 2:02 PM

Too bad Justin Wilson isn't in one of the seats. Hope Doornbos gets his deal taken care of quickly. Testing starts Feb. 23rd. Bobby D and a three car Newman/Haas team should be a very interesting combination.

Jimmy Weeks

February 05, 2009 10:18 AM

It would be a huge shame if Duno got the NHL drive while Justin Wilson had to spend a year on the sidelines. It is of course all down to money, and an understandable decision in the present economic climate, but to lose a driver of Wilson's quality with the pretty lackluster Duno in his place is a shame, from a racing point of view at least. Here's hoping Doornbos gets the other seat, he'd give Rahal a serious challenge within the team.



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