Just over three weeks after the series took its first laps in anger at Silverstone, the A1 Grand Prix field will re-assemble to continue its pre-season preparations at the hi-tech Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France.

Already the scene of development sessions for both the GP2 series and World Series by Renault, as well as sporadic Formula One outings, Ricard will play host to A1GP for the first time over three days [24-26 August] this week, as Sheikh Maktoum's brainchild builds up to its competitive debut at Brands Hatch next month.

Fifteen national teams turned out for the Silverstone test, but the field is expected to grow this week, following the addition of a couple of further entries between tests. Some 20 teams - representing Malaysia, Indonesia, Russia, Mexico, Switzerland, France, South Africa, USA, China, India, Brazil, New Zealand, Germany, Pakistan, Portugal, Ireland, Lebanon, UK, Australia, Holland - have applied to run this week, although the identity of certain drivers remains unclear, as teams continue to try out several possible candidates.

"I am very pleased to welcome the A1 Grand Prix series to Paul Ricard," circuit CEO Philippe Gurdjian said, "Once again, the organisation of a new series has chosen our test track to validate their cars before the launch of the series. It is a true success for the Paul Ricard HTTT and I really wish the best to all the participants of this new and original discipline - be it the drivers, the team managers and the organisations."

France set the pace at the Silverstone test three weeks ago, but the chasing pack proved closely matched, and it will be interesting to see whether the national team can continue its front-running performance on home soil.



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