The team behind Robert Doornbos has again attempted to temper speculation that the Dutchman has inked a deal to join Newman/Haas.Lanigan Racing - just as the rumour mill cranks up a notch with claims that the squad is to expand this season.

While many IndyCar Series teams are being coy about the size of their line-up for 2009, NHLR has veered from possibly being a one-car outfit centred around the returning Graham Rahal to potentially bettering all but the Andretti Green Racing behemoth with the addition of a third car for the coming season.

The rumour is nothing new, but the personnel involved have changed, with Sebastien Bourdais now looking more likely to retain his place in Formula One with Scuderia Toro Rosso having once appeared in peril of being dumped after a single season. Amid rumours that the Frenchman may now have sourced the backing to keep his seat safe from the likes of Takuma Sato and Jenson Button, NHLR appears to have turned its attention to one Milka Duno.

The Venezuelan has served her IndyCar apprenticeship with the likes of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing without ever setting the world alight - although she did enflame AGR rival Danica Patrick on one occasion - but has always had access to the sort of sponsorship that erstwhile NHLR incumbent Justin Wilson would have given his eye-teeth for in order to remain on board.

Although speculation suggests that CITGO may or may not be accompanying the sometime model to NHLR, it would appear that Duno has had no trouble coming up with the money to pay for her ride alongside Rahal and, despite the denials, Doornbos.

The Dutchman's official website has again attempted to play down reports in the national press claiming that a deal has finally been struck with NHLR, insisting that nothing will be concrete until an announcement is forthcoming from either party.

"Passing news suggests that Robert Doornbos has a contract to go race for Newman Haas Lanigan in 2009," a posted statement read, "While we gladly affirm that the negotiations with IRL teams are in the last stages, so long as there is no official press message on this website, there is no deal.

"We hope that we can announce Bobby D's plans very quickly [and, if everything goes according to plan, we will see fight Robert in the IRL next season, fighting for the championship.

"At this moment, Robert will focus on A1 Team Netherlands, [with] Jan Lammers' team very close to a first victory of the season."

Doornbos took a podium finish and two front row starts for the Dutch A1GP squad at Taupo last time out.



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