Former single-seater hopeful Darren Malkin will make a full-time return to competition in 2004, having agreed a deal to pilot the potent Renault Clio V6 in next year's British GT Championship.

Despite FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel promising to overhaul the series in time for the new season, Clio entrant Atlanta Motorsport has been assured that its rear-wheel drive car will be eligible for the GT Cup class, and has pressed ahead with its preparations - including the signing of Malkin to lead the team.

The Briton appeared set for a promising single-seater career after following third place in the 1997 Formula Renault Championship with runners-up spot in the 1999 Formula Opel Euroseries - where he took future Indy Racing League star Tomas Scheckter to the wire - but a lack of finance eventually sidelined him.

He then appeared to be poised for a return to action in 2001, when he signed up to drive one of JS Motorsport's Alfa Romeo 147s in the British Touring Car Championship, but that opening closed almost immediately when Dave Pinkney and Tim Harvey, amongst others, raced the recalcitrant car. Since then, Malkin has been restricted to a handful of appearances in the British GT Championship, driving a Eclipse Motorsport Marcos Mantis.

"I can confirm that Darren has signed for the 2004 season, and we are delighted with the news," Atlanta team boss Ben Owen told Crash.Net, "We feel that we will have an excellent package for the coming season."

The Clio V6 endured a trying debut season in 2003, with Enzo Mucci eventually clinching 19th place overall in the GT Cup class with 39 points. Malkin's team-mate has yet to be revealed.

 

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