A1 Grand Prix has been buoyed by the news that Portugal will return to the series for the remainder of the 2007 season after securing sufficient financial backing.

Upping the grid up to 23 cars, Portugal have made the last-minute dash to Durban following the confirmation that they have snared commercial support from the national financial organisation, Banif Group, a deal that is also expected to see them commit to next season.

Portugal were one of four teams that chose not to extend their participation in A1 Grand Prix following its first season, despite Alvaro Parente helping them to ninth in the standings with three podiums to their name.

However, with backing sought, the 2005 British Formula Three Champion will return to seat too in South Africa, where he will attempt to repeat his eighth and third place finish from last season.

"I really enjoyed racing in A1GP last season and am delighted to be back. The Durban track is a really tricky one but we had a good result here last season and I'm looking forward to racing here again. It's an exciting race and has a great atmosphere with all the crowds lining the track."

Indeed, while the team have only four more meetings of the season remaining the make an impression, A1 Team Portugal seat holder Luis Vicente is confident they can still challenge at the front of the field before the year is out.

"Thanks to the support of Horacio Roque, President of Banif Group, we now have the financial support to put A1 Team Portugal back on the grid in pursuit of wins in the World Cup of Motorsport.

"We have already shown that Portugal can be a strong competitor on the global motorsport stage and are confident of securing some top finishes in the last four races of this season before taking on the world in the 2007/08 season."



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