British driver Dillon Battistini has admitted that he ahs his sights set firmly on a future in the Champ Car World Series after enjoying his first outing in one of Minardi Team USA's DP01s at Sebring this week.

The reigning Asian F3 champion joined GP2 racewinner Ernesto Viso as Minardi began its winter campaign in Florida, and completed nearly 300 miles around the bumpy airfield course. Mild temperatures made for good testing conditions and Battistini quickly got to grips with the DP01, despite admitting that the step up from F3 had been a big one to make.

After spending the first day of the test completing systems checks and getting used to his new surroundings - including the paddleshift gearbox - the Briton moved on to refining his set-up and building up his pace.

Satisfied with his performance - which team boss Keith Wiggins confirmed would, with further track time, not embarrass him next season - Battistini admitted that he hoped to return to Sebring for the first Champ Car group test next February.

"Jumping into this car straight after F3 is a substantial jump but, considering that, I am quite happy with what we achieved in such a short amount of time," the Briton said, "Things went as well as I could have ever hoped for.

"The team is wonderful, all the guys were great, and I learned a lot from everyone. We made a lot of progress developing the car, worked through our program, and I'm pleased to have helped in that way.

"The car was great - the amount of power it has is fantastic, but very manageable. Hopefully, this test has given my backers the confidence to allow me to be in Champ Car full-time in 2008."

Although the grapevine suggests that Minardi will run both 2007 pilots, Robert Doornbos and Dan Clarke again next season, there has been talk of a potential third car, and Battistini is keen to add his name to the team's shopping list.

"I was impressed with Dillon with his professional approach and feedback," Wiggins commented, "It was more of a jump for him from F3 [than for Viso from GP2], but he definitely proved that, with enough time in the car, he'll be a good addition to the Champ Car World Series."


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