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ELMS: Nick Yelloly and JOTA Sport part company

Nick Yelloly will no longer be racing with JOTA Sport in the European Le Mans Series in 2015, the team announced on Saturday.
Nick Yelloly and JOTA Sport have terminated their recently announced deal that would have seen the GP3 driver switch to sportscars full time in the LMP2 category of the European Le Mans Series for 2015.

JOTA announced at the start of March that the 24-year-old British driver had signed up for them after four years of single-seater racing in GP3 and the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. The deal would have seen him make his Le Mans 24 Hour race début in the summer.

Yelloly had been expecting to be partnered with Simon Dolan and Filipe Albuquerque, but JOTA subsequently announced that GP2 Series regular Mitch Evans would take Albuquerque's place at Le Mans and the 6 Hours of Spa when the Portueguese driver temporarily switches to Audi Sport Team Joest's third LMP1 car for those events.

In their announcement, the team put Yelloly's sudden departure from the squad down to scheduling conflicts.

"Unfortunately Nick is not now part of JOTA Sport's 2015 plans,” said JOTA team boss Sam Hignett on Saturday. "Since our announcement earlier this month it transpires conflicting elements and commitments mean it's best we go our separate ways with immediate effect."

It's not clear what those conflicts might be. When Yelloly signed for the team two weeks ago, he made it clear that his switch to sportscars was his main and indeed only priority in 2015.

"Sportscars will be my only programme this year and the decision was very simple," he said at the time. "The sportscar category is now getting much bigger compared to some top-line single-seater categories. The racing intrigues me, having to master new skills from almost continuous overtaking to fuel saving, and who could turn down competing at Le Mans!

"A number of single-seater guys have successfully made the switch over to sportscars like Brendon Hartley and Harry Tincknell and I have always dreamt of racing a LMP1 sports-prototype at Le Mans," he had added.

Dolan and Albuquerque will now be JOTA's main drivers attending the official pre-season test at the Paul Ricard circuit in France this week, with Evans potentially also running some laps with a view to possibly stepping up his participation with the team this year.

That will be dependant on the Kiwi driver's commitments to the GP2 championship, where he is due to run a full season in the F1 feeder series with the Russian Time team.

There was no immediate initial comment or reaction from Yelloly to the day's news, and no indication as to what he now plans to do instead in 2015. He finished the 2014 GP3 Series in sixth place in the final standings and ended his participation on a high with his maiden win with Status Grand Prix in the final race of the season at Abu Dhabi.

In addition, Yelloly had four second place finishes and four further podium places during his time in GP3, and also took part in the 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 Series with Comtec Racing where he won two races and claimed a further two runners-up spots during the course of the year.

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