Kiesa closer to second Minardi?

Nicolas Kiesa appears an even hotter favourite to land the second seat at Minardi for 2005, cementing his return to the team which gave his first Formula One opportunity in 2003.

Reports in the Danish media appear convinced that the former F3000 race winner will link up with the already-signed Christijan Albers at the Faenza team in time for next month's opening race in Melbourne, having sat out much of 2004 to concentrate on securing the budget for a return to the top flight. TV 2 Sporten claims that Kiesa's signature is all but on a contract with Paul Stoddart's team, elevating the Dane to the head of what, at one point, seemed a very long queue of potential pilots.

Kiesa made his F1 debut with Minardi in 2003, replacing the Jaguar-bound Justin Wilson from the German Grand Prix onwards. He had already sprung to prominence by winning the blue riband Monaco leg of the FIA F3000 Championship, causing one of the few upsets of Bjorn Wirdheim's dominant season by taking advantage of the Swede's uncharacteristic finishing line error.

Unsurprisingly, Kiesa failed to score any points in his five outings with the team, first getting used to the step up in performance and then having to wrestle the PS03 against superior opposition. Without the budget to remain with the team in 2004, he returned to Denmark in search of sponsors.

Should the suggestion of his signing be confirmed, the Dane will join Albers in a youthful Minardi line-up. The Dutchman signed with the team shortly before Christmas, and celebrated the deal by taking a Minardi through the streets of Amsterdam last week.

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