Patriotic visitors to the forthcoming New Zealand round of A1 GP will be cheering for Chris van der Drift after the 'all blacks' named him as their nominated driver in Taupo.

Making his second appearance for the team after scoring points on his debut earlier this season at Chengdu, van der Drift managed to get the nod over experienced racer Johnny Reid and the well regarded Earl Bamber.

The reigning Formula Master Champion, 22-year-old van der Drift will race in Taupo despite the event clashing with his commitments with Trident in the GP2 Asia Series, an event that is also keeping Bamber out of contention.

Nonetheless, van der Drift, who has spent much of his career racing in Europe, cites the opportunity to represent his country at his home circuit as too good an opportunity to pass up.

"Taupo is an important race for the team," he said. "Seeing as I haven't done much racing in New Zealand in my single-seater career, it's so fantastic to have the opportunity to drive Black Beauty at Taupo.

"I haven't driven on the circuit in its current form, but I know the circuit and have walked it when I was helping Earl Bamber in 2006. I'll treat Taupo like any other race. I don't feel too much pressure, and won't let that get in the way of my performance."

van der Drift finished seventh and 11th on his debut for the team at Chengdu, although that is some way off compatriot Bamber, who has already managed three podiums in the four races he has competed with the team. New Zealand are currently fifth in the standings.



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