Reigning GP2 Series champion iSport International has made its first signing for the 2008 season by confirming Karun Chandhok for both the regular summer season and the new GP2 Asia initiative.

The latest Indian to break onto the international scene, Chandhok enjoyed an impressive debut season with Durango in 2007, becoming the first GP2 race winner from his country after fending off Andy Soucek at Spa while scoring regular points through the second half of the season. His performances attracted the attention of iSport, which won both team and drivers' titles this year, and strong post-season test outings led to a deal for 2008.

"Ever since the middle of the year, iSport has been the most sought after drive on the grid," Chandhok admitted, "I know they've had nearly every GP2 driver on the grid chasing them for the drive and for them to have taken up the option to run me is a huge confidence boost.

"I enjoyed my time with Durango last year but, when I tested with iSport soon after the last race of the season, right from the first few laps I knew that this was the team I wanted to be with. The guys in the team are real racers at heart. They have been very welcoming and we got along very well right from the first day. I'm really delighted and proud to be sitting here today as an iSport driver."

Team principal Paul Jackson revealed that there were several reasons for signing Chandhok, not least the ability he showed throughout 2007.

"Karun had an impressive debut season and we initially got talking around the middle of the year about doing the GP2 Asia series," he explained, "He tested with us in Jerez as part of our winter testing programme to evaluate drivers for the future and we were all pleasantly surprised with how well he went, especially in the race simulation run.

"What was very important for us was that Karun fitted in well with the mechanics and engineers very well and, as a team, we felt that we could certainly work well with him and have a successful season. The main European GP2 series is certainly the most important part of our programme and the Asian series before that will be a good 'warm up' for him to understand our way of working before moving to Europe. I'm really glad we have concluded our deal and am now looking forward to a strong year ahead."

Chandhok has also been added to the Red Bull Junior Team programme, strengthening his links with the drinks brand after his recent test outing with its F1 team in November. The agreement should open up more testing opportunities with the team in 2008.

"Red Bull have really been awesome to me since the start of our partnership," the 23-year old Channai native admitted, "Helmut Marko, Christian Horner and everyone involved with Red Bull Austria and the F1 team have given their blessing to my deal with iSport, and being a part of the Junior Team programme has made our association stronger.

"They were pleased with what I did in the F1 car in Barcelona at my first test and I look forward to being a test driver for them again in 2008. I always said that my ideal scenario for 2008 would be to race with a top GP2 team and test for a good F1 team and this has now worked out well."

Chandhok's team-mate for 2008 is expected to be highly-rated Bruno Senna, who will transfer from Arden International for his second year in the series.

"The 2008 season is going to be the biggest challenge of my career, but the aim is to have podiums, win races and to finish in the top six of the championship," Chandhok commented, "The team and I both have the potential to do it and I really have to thank Red Bull, JK Tyre, Amaron and ICSA logistics for their incredible backing at this crucial time."

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