Ireland gear up for the upcoming pre-season A1 GP test at Silverstone by announcing Ralph Firman will return to the team alongside Adam Carroll.

Firman raced for the team during its first season in 2005/06, scoring four top five finishes, including a podium at Estoril, but the former Jordan Grand Prix chose not to race in the series last season.

Nonetheless, Ireland are gearing up for a more successful third attempt at the championship with GP2 winner Carroll returning after an impressive first outing at Snetterton, ahead of what could be a full-time drive with the team once his GP2 commitments have subsided.

Firman, who is currently racing in the Japanese GT Championship, admits though that he is also looking for a race seat with the team this year, but for the moment is using the test as a chance to get reacclimatised with the car.

"I am very happy to have been asked back to drive the Team Ireland car in next week's test. I followed the team's progress very closely last season and know that an enormous effort has been put into doing whatever necessary to give the team a chance of achieving success in the new season. It's very clear the team has moved onto a new level.

"At this stage the test is precisely that - a test for me and the team to see how well we can perform - but naturally my goal is to return to a race seat if that can happen."

Ireland endured a difficult 2006/07 season with a combination of Michael Devaney and Richard Lyons at the wheel, the latter scoring a best result of fifth at Shanghai. Team principal Mark Kershaw however is confident the combination of Carroll and Firman, should he secure them, will make Ireland a front runner.

"The Silverstone test has always been a good indicator of who perform well in the coming season and we want to make sure we're towards the top of the timesheets. Adam Carroll showed great speed and consistency at Snetterton and he has accepted our invitation to participate in the first official test while we're delighted to welcome Ralph back.

"Ralph has not only scored our best results to date but remained very supportive of the team even when we drafted in other drivers last season. With the benefit of hindsight it's clear that his experience and speed counted for more than we realised in season one, and he's certainly keen to race for Team Ireland again if the opportunity arises."

 

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