Phil Bennett is to join the Scuderia Ecosse team for the second round of the FIA GT Championship season after regular driver Chris Niarchos was forced to miss the trip to Brno.

Niarchos, who claimed his third win of the season at Donington Park in the British GT Championship over the weekend, will miss the meeting because of prior business commitments but the popular racer said he felt the team had selected the ideal man to replace him.

"It's a real shame I can't race at Brno but I have business commitments that were put in place a long time ago," he said. "I do everything I can to fit my racing around my business, but when the calendar changes so late in the day it's impossible to plan anything, and it now looks like I'll have to miss Bucarest too.

"That aside, I'm delighted that Phil Bennett will be driving the 430 in my place this weekend. I've known Phil for a number of years and he and Tim get along very well. He has masses of sportscar experience and is frankly the best man for the job."

Team-mate Tim Mullen admitted that it would be a weird experience not to have Niarchos sharing the car with him in the Czech Republic, but he said he was aiming to do his regular sidekick proud.

"We're going to Brno to win, no doubt about that," he said. "I've only raced there once before, back in 2003, and from what I can remember I'm sure we'll go well there. It will be good to see how Phil goes. It'll be strange to not be racing with Chris but I hope Phil and I can do him proud."


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