Patrick Friesacher will replace Matthias Lauda at the wheel of the Team Austria entry for this weekend's A1 Grand Prix event at Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico.

The former Minardi F1 pilot is, at present, slated merely as a temporary stand-in for Lauda, who is unavailable to race owing to testing commitments with the Mercedes DTM squad, which he is expected to be a part of in 2006.

With next to no testing allowed in A1GP, Friesacher's first introduction to the series will come on Friday, when he participates in the two one-hour free practice sessions at the Champ Car circuit, which will also be new to him. With just one further practice session before qualifying on Saturday afternoon, the former F3000 race winner faces a race against time to get acclimatised to car and track if he is to bump the Austrian team up the grid.

"I am really looking forward to racing for Austria, and am really happy to have the chance to compete again," he said, having not raced since being stood down at Minardi midway through 2005, "The A1GP series has developed well over the last few races but, at the moment, I cannot really comment on what will happen, as I have not driven the car. I think that I will be able to give more information after the practice sessions."

 

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