IL: RLR/Andersen confirms Romancini.
Mario Romancini's performances in open testing for the Firestone Indy Lights series appears to have landed the Brazilian one of the more competitive rides in the 2009 field.
RLR/Andersen Racing co-owner Dan Andersen confirmed the 21-year old Brazilian behind the wheel of his team's #5 Dallara after successive top five showings in testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway last week. The World Series by Renault refugee has a deal to contest all 15 rounds of the Lights championship, and will carry backing from Allied Building Products Corp, Win Brazil Marketing and recycling company Revita.
Romancini will not only chase the overall Lights title, but will look to add a third Rookie of the Year award to those he racked up in the 2007 SudAm F3 and 2006 Brazilian FRenault series, despite his comparative lack of oval racing experience.
"I think we will be able to fight for wins this year," the Brazilian claimed, "The team did a great job [in testing]. I feel comfortable with the car and with the guys, and now we'll just keep working so we can start the championship off on the right foot.
"Driving on an oval track for the first time was amazing. In the beginning, it was a strange feeling but, after some runs, I was used to the speed and to the different style of driving. We worked on the car and improved at the end of day. For the first time on an oval, I think we did a fantastic job, as we were very quick, even running alone
without the help of a draft, which showed us that we'll be competitive on road courses as well as ovals.
"I'm very happy to be running with RLR/Andersen Racing. I want to thank Dan and John Andersen and all the team members for trusting that I can do the job. I will do my best to fight for the title."
Romancini's ability to adapt to the unfamiliar discipline was one of the things that impressed the Andersen brothers.
"I was extremely pleased with Mario's performance in the four days of testing on both road courses and ovals that he just completed with our team," Dan Andersen confirmed, "He learned oval driving techniques much faster than most drivers do, and in fact was the fastest driver out there when running without the benefit of a draft on the final open test day, when all 18 drivers were testing.
"He is very smooth - he has excellent hand movements, which is very important on ovals where steering input affects car speed so much - and also demonstrated a focused, positive attitude, and he works very well with our entire crew. We're looking forward to a great season with the #5 car."
The identity of Romancini's team-mate is expected to be revealed in the next couple of weeks.