Having proved impressive on the limited outings he managed in its inaugural season, Michael Devaney has been announced as Team Ireland's lead driver ahead of the new A1 Grand Prix Series.

Devaney had three outings with the team last year, but managed to score two fourth place finishes at Eastern Creek and Shanghai when deputising for lead driver Ralph Firman. Between them, they took Ireland to an encouraging eighth in the standings.

Now promoted to lead driver, Devaney is delighted to be testing his mettle against an impressive line-up of names and is confident he will have the pace to claim the team's maiden race win.

"I am delighted that the team has given me this opportunity as I really enjoyed my outings with A1 Team Ireland last year and the A1GP series is not only extremely competitive but an outstanding championship which allows me to race against top drivers of Formula One and GP2 calibre. However A1GP is all about the team and I will be doing my utmost with John to ensure that Ireland achieves its first win in the World Cup of Motorsport."

While Devaney has been promoted to lead driver, his role as reserve driver has been taken by Asian F3 competitor John O'Hara. He will also be appearing in the newly created Rookie Session on the Friday of each A1 GP weekend.

"A1 Team Ireland has offered me a tremendous opportunity not only to race world-wide in a very senior category of racing but also to represent the country in a unique way. I am looking forward to working with the team, including Michael, and the competition is absolutely fierce. I cannot wait for the first weekend Zandvoort."

Launching their car at Weston Executive Airport near Dublin, team bosses Mark Kershaw and Mark Gallagher also took the opportunity to announce Manvik, BPI Telecom, IBP Properties and Orca financial services as major new sponsors.

"One year on from the launch of A1GP we are delighted to announce a strong driver line up and to reveal the new identity for the team, both of which will help us to stand out from the crowd.

"In Michael and John we have two young drivers who have natural speed, a proven track record and a determination to ensure that Ireland is even more competitive this year. The team has benefited greatly from the experience gained during the first season and our preparations for the forthcoming series have been painstaking. It promises to be a thrilling season."



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