A1 Team Ireland are gearing up for the first official pre-season test ahead of the A1 Grand Prix by announcing that Paddy Hogan and Michael Devaney will test their mettle against their rivals at Silverstone.

For Devaney it is a return to the car that he claims 'saved his career' when a series of impressive performances in the few times he raced in the car shared with Ralph Firman earned him a reputation as one to watch.

Racing at three meetings over the season, Devaney managed a best of fourth in two of the six races he competed in, earning what is likely to be a more permanent drive in the squad for the 2006/2007 season.

Hogan meanwhile is making the step up from the Formula Renault UK Championship, a series he currently leads, with the test giving him his first taster of the 550bhp car's potential. He replaces John O'Hara in the car, who tested the car at Snetterton earlier this month and is still in the running for a possible drive.

Team owner Mark Kershaw sees this year's championship as a chance for Ireland to improve upon the solid foundations they laid last season, the team finishing eighth.

"This week's test is extremely important as it gives the teams the only significant opportunity to run the cars, drivers and pit crew in anger before the opening race in Holland," said team owner Mark Kershaw.

"This season, however, we are very much better prepared as the five month break gave us the chance to re-evaluate everything. Many of our competitors came straight into A1GP from other senior classes of races, some of them as multiple champions, whereas we started from scratch.

"Having learned a huge amount in the first A1GP series we go into this test, and the season, feeling in good shape. Michael knows the team and the car well, and we are looking forward to seeing Paddy Hogan behind the wheel for the first time."

 

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