Will Bratt is set to step in for Roberto Merhi at Pons Racing in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Silverstone this weekend as the Spaniard has commitment clashes for Manor at the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix.

Bratt, a former Formula Two and BTCC driver, received the unexpected call during the week and will fill in for Merhi while he is absent at Monza.

The Banbury-based driver hasn't competed in a single-seater since July 2011 in the FIA Formula 2 championship at the Nurburgring and his first experience in the Pons Racing FR3.5 machine will be during the Friday free practice sessions at Silverstone.

"It's a huge surprise to be racing in Formula Renault 3.5 this weekend at Silverstone, but a very pleasant one, and a really fantastic opportunity to be back racing and at such a high level too", Brayy said. "It's going to be a big leap back in at the deep end but I'll be giving it 100% as I always do.

"When Sito offered us the chance to stand-in for Roberto we jumped at it, especially with the races being at Silverstone. The championship is as competitive as it's ever been, so it's not going to be easy, but I know the guys at Pons will give me a great car and if we can make progress across the weekend I'll be very happy."

Bratt appeared to be a genuine Formula 2 title contender in 2011 after four rostrums, including a win at Spa, over the opening eight races but budget constraints curtailed his challenge. The 27-year-old switched his efforts to sportscar racing in the 2013 24 Hours of Spa before moving on to BTCC where he spent two seasons with Rob Austin Racing.

Bratt has enjoyed the majority of his success in single-seaters after taking a championship victory in the 2009 Euroseries 3000 category before graduating into Formula 2.

The one-round arrangement sees Bratt return to competing alongside Emilio de Villota Jr, his former team boss during his Spanish F3 days, who now manages the Pons Racing FR3.5 team.

"We're not under any illusions as to how much of a challenge the weekend will present, but I'm determined to grab the opportunity with both hands and do the best job possible for all the guys at Pons," Bratt added.



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