Champ Car veteran Patrick Carpentier will not be dropped by champion team Forsythe Racing this year, quashing rumours suggesting that the Canadian had been forced out of the line-up by well-heeled also-ran Rodolfo Lavin.

Press reports late last week suggested that the four-time winner would be looking for another ride after Gerald Forsythe's decision to hire former Walker Racing pilot Lavin, but the team confirmed at Champ Car's Long Beach season premiere that Carpentier would be returning to partner both the Mexican and fellow countryman Paul Tracy in 2004.

Forsythe revealed that it would be adding a third car to its line-up to accommodate the signing of Corona Beer-backed Lavin - a welcome boost for the series in itself - but confirmed that Carpentier was still without a title sponsor for his entry, which could compromise his efforts to run a full season. Defending champion Tracy returns to the squad to pilot the Indeck-backed #1 Lola-Cosworth.

As recently as Saturday [6 March], Carpentier's agent, Alain Labrosse, had told Canadian website sportsnet.ca that Forsythe had notified his intention to drop the long-time Player's driver in favour of Lavin.

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