David Price Racing has confirmed Giacomo Ricci as the replacement driver for the injured Michael Herck at this weekend's opening round of the GP2 Series in Barcelona.

The Belgian was ruled out of the final event of the GP2 Asia Series after suffering a hand injury in the Bahrain double-header, and is still receiving specialist treatment in an effort to return to full fitness as quickly as possible. Until then, however, Ricci will join Diego Nunes in the DPR line-up.

The Italian raced in the US-based Champ Car Atlantic Series last season, finishing sixth in the championship, but will be making his GP2 debut when he takes the start of the first race in Barcelona. The 23-year old should not be over-awed by the power hike, however, having already taken championship titles in both the Italian and Euro F3000 series, using cars from the pre-GP2 era of Formula One supports.

"We're obviously disappointed that we're not able to start the season with our two regular drivers, but we're pleased to welcome Giacomo to the team for the first round and hope that he'll quickly settle in to the team," eponymous team owner Price commented, "Without any GP2 experience, Giacomo has a tough task ahead of him, especially with so little track time that we have at these F1 meetings, but we'll give him as much help as possible to bring him up to speed. It will be the first time that any team has raced with the new GP2 car so, from that perspective, Giacomo will be at no disadvantage."

Despite losing half of his original line-up and arriving back in Europe after a tough GP2 Asia campaign - in which he ran Nunes and Armaan Ebrahim, while Herck ran with FMSI - Price remains confident that the team can pick up from where it left off last season.

"We're looking forward to this," he said, "The new car is quick, easy to work with and offers scope for the drivers to show their technical and driving skills, with the set-up being very important to overall success.

"With two rookie drivers and a grid with around half of the drivers in their second season of GP2 racing, we know that every race weekend is going to be very tough and with a high level of competitiveness, but our aim will be to develop the drivers over the course of the ten rounds. Diego has already shown in the GP2 Asia Series that he is a quick learner, with his strong finishes as that championship progressed."

 

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