A new face will get the opportunity to make his name in A1GP at the end of this month, following Team Netherlands' announcement that it will give young hotshot Renger van der Zande his head when the series touches down in Mexico.

The 21-year-old has already represented his country in the rookie sessions at a number of meetings, but in Mexico City he will take to the wheel of the Dutch entry for both qualifying and the sprint ace for the first time. Following this, regular driver and former race winner Jeroen Bleekemolen will reclaim the reins for the feature. Van der Zande will subsequently fulfil all driving duties for the squad in the penultimate round at Shanghai, with Bleekemolen returning to compete in the series finale at Brands Hatch.

"Let one thing be very clear up front," stressed team principal, former grand prix and sportscar ace Jan Lammers. "We are not doing this because we are unhappy about the performance of Jeroen Bleekemolen. On the contrary, he is doing very well, both for us and for himself. That is something Jeroen understands very well and it is why he is co-operating and giving Renger the opportunity to display himself under race conditions and allowing the team the chance to introduce young talent.

"We want to present the opportunity to talented drivers to show themselves on this level in front of a large international racing audience, and simultaneously give their commercial support team an extra tool to get the business community involved. It would be the easiest thing, now that Jeroen is performing very well, to leave things unchanged, but we cannot ignore the importance of the development of the team as a whole.

"By giving Renger this chance on this level and in this fantastic series we hope to grow even more enthusiasm with a broader audience. At the same time, looking forward to next season, we are getting a better picture of Renger during race conditions in A1GP and how having two drivers each doing a race in one race weekend is working out."

Van der Zande will not be the only new face at Team Netherlands in Mexico. Last season Tim Wright got acquainted with both A1GP and the Dutch outfit in Malaysia, filling in as team engineer. Aside from his A1GP obligations, the 28-year-old is also working as an engineer at Campos GP in GP2 and in the Spanish F3 Championship with Nicolas Prost, son of multiple Formula 1 World Champion Alain Prost.

"Tim is the right man for the job and completely up-to-date with the latest developments on the technical side, data, analysis and implementation," stated Lammers. "Especially during the practice sessions and qualifying we hope to benefit from that."

The A1GP in Mexico City, round nine of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, will be held on 25 March at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the former grand prix circuit which has more recently played host to both NASCAR and Champ Car action.

 

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