Vitaly Petrov will make his GP2 Series debut this weekend, as DPR's relationship with Direxiv appears to have become a victim of the latter's reported business problems.

Speculation has swirled in motorsport circles recently concerning the financial health of the Japanese luxury goods company, which made a grand entrance to motorsport over the past couple of years and was even chasing a spot on the Formula One grid in 2008.

The split with DPR, which will retain its distinctive 'flame' livery but without Direxiv branding from Hockenheim onwards, is not the first change in circumstance for the company either, following last week's announcement that it would play no further part in GP2 driver Hiroki Yoshimoto's career.

DPR claims that the Direxiv Motorsport off shoot failed to meet its contractual obligations with regard to sponsorship monies and, as a result of the fall-out, the British team has ditched Olivier Pla - only recently back from a broken wrist - and drafted in Petrov for the foreseeable future. Clivio Piccione has made alternative sponsorship arrangements and will remain with the team.

Petrov, the 21-year old reigning Russian F1600 champion, is currently fourth in the Euroseries 3000 Championship, and will come to GP2 with two series victories under
his belt, the most recent at Mugello this past weekend.

Should the rumours be true, Direxiv's problems would have a larger knock-on effect that just altering the DPR line-up, with several other drivers, notably GP2 points leader Lewis Hamilton and British F3 frontrunner Maro Engel receiving backing, as well as teams such as McLaren and the DPR-run Direxiv FNippon squad. Although the likes of Hamilton and McLaren should be safe, it remains to be seen what will happen to lesser lights relying on money from Japan.



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