Fr?d?ric Vervisch has admitted that he is hoping to make an immediate impact on the Atlantic Championship at Sebring this week in order to prolong his stay in the series beyond the opening round.

The 22-year old Belgian had hoped to continue his career in Europe after taking two F3 titles - the German and Asian - in 2008, but struggled to raise the budget and opted instead to take up a one-race offer from Atlantic stalwart Genoa Racing, hoping to reprise the team's minor success from last season.

"My goal was to participate in the World Series by Renault, but I was not able to find enough funding,'' Vervisch admitted, ''However, the opportunity to race in America arose although, at this time, I will only take part in the opening round of the championship at Sebring.

''It won't be easy, but I'm aiming for the win with Genoa Racing. Markus Niemel?, Borja Garcia and John Michael Edwards will be my main opponents. Niemel? is the reigning champion and Edwards, with whom I drove in European Formula Renault, took the title in the Star Mazda junior series."

Vervisch made an encouraging start to his Atlantic adventure, joining Genoa for the recent two-day test at Palm Beach International Raceway and setting the third fastest time, only a few tenths shy of fellow rookie - and GP2/WSbR refugee - Garcia. Problems on Wednesday prevented him from building on that, but provided pointers for the opening round.

"My first test in the Formula Atlantic car was very interesting,'' he reported, ''We have to change a few things before Sebring but, overall, the pace was good."