GP2 front-runner Nicolas Lapierre will make a welcome return to the A1GP fold at Brno this weekend, as he takes back to the wheel of the French entry in place of Lo?c Duval.

The 23-year-old was an integral part of A1 Team France during the nation vs nation series' inaugural season, when les bleus swept all before them to crush the opposition and seal the crown courtesy of 13 victories from 22 races, six scored by Lapierre and seven from Alex Pr?mat. Though the squad endured a frustrating time in 2006/07 - with no wins to show for its efforts - it has begun the current campaign in more encouraging form, with Duval finishing second and fifth in the Netherlands two weeks ago to place France third in the championship standings following the opening meeting, just one point adrift of Great Britain in second.

As the sportscar regular is otherwise engaged this weekend competing in Japan, Lapierre has agreed to step into the breach and is clearly aiming to pick up where his countryman left off.

"I wasn't going to race in the A1GP Championship this year," he admitted. "The 2008 season is looking very busy for me and I had decided to recharge my batteries during the inter-season, but the French team needs me for the second round of the championship to fill in for Lo?c.

"I'll do my best to continue the series of good results that began at Zandvoort. After that I'll hand back to Lo?c, and I hope I will have placed the team in a good position in the championship."

What's more, former grand prix star Olivier Panis will also be on-hand in the French garage to give invaluable advice and put his considerable experience at the team's disposal in the Czech Republic, while the weekend will similarly see the A1GP debut of Nicolas Prost, son of four-time Formula 1 World Champion Alain Prost. Fresh from another triumph in the Spanish F3 Championship, the 26-year-old will help the team optimise its race set-up and is raring to get going.

"Thanks to the two test sessions on the Silverstone circuit during the summer I've been able to get to grips with the handling of the A1 GP car," Prost asserted. "It seems to me to be very pleasant to drive.

"During the test my lap times kept improving and the team did everything it could to make me feel at ease, so even if it's my debut in a new branch of motor racing I feel confident. On Friday, my sole aim will be to help A1 Team France to prepare for the coming weekend in the best possible conditions."



Loading Comments...