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Felipe Nasr, Josef Kral and Fabio Leimer aim for GP2 honours

February 22, 2012

Reigning British Formula 3 champion Felipe Nasr has joined DAMS in pursuit of the GP2 Series title.

The Brazilian has previously claimed the Formula BMW Europe and British Formula 3* crowns in 2009 and 2011 respectively, before collecting podium honours at the Macau Grand Prix and the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

Davide Valsecchi will partner Nasr at DAMS, as the Italian enters his fifth year of GP2 competition. Lotus Formula 1 pilot Romain Grosjean claimed the GP2 crown with the French squad in 2011; however DAMS lost the Teams’ Championship to Barwa Addax – a fact CEO Jean-Paul Driot will wish rectify.

Indeed Barwa Addax also completed their driver line-up with the addition of Josef Kral to the squad. Kral – who recovered from two fracture vertebrae sustained at a GP2 event in Valencia in 2010 – will be partnered by another GP2 veteran, Johnny Cecotto Jr**.

Both Kral and Cecotto Jr will be hoping for better seasons this time out. Despite earning a pair of podiums in 2011, Kral could only manage 15th overall in the standings, while Cecotto Jr failed to score a point.
Kral tested with the Spanish team at Barcelona last December, impressing the team enough during the brief outing to consider his signature. The Czech driver also tested for HRT at the Young Driver Test in 2010, completing sixty-one laps for the team.

While DAMS and Barwa Addax can claim full houses, Racing Engineering recently made their first driver signing of the year when Fabio Leimer joined the team.

Leimer raced with the Spanish team at the Abu Dhabi GP2 finale in November of last year, winning the event outright following pole position and a victory in the Feature Race. The Swiss pilot also demonstrated speed with the team in winter testing, thereby cementing a powerful relationship early on.
Having captured the International Formula Master Series with Jenzer Motorsport in 2009, the 22-years-old knows success is a must this time out, as he enters his third season in GP2. With three wins in this category under his belt, influential eyes will be on the Swiss driver.

* {note 1}
Amir Nasr – Felipe Nasr’s uncle – ran Amir Nasr Racing (oddly) in South American Formula 3 from the 1980s through to the middle of the last decade.
By 2004, ANR had merged with Helio Castroneves to create Nasr-Castroneves Racing; however this avenue was closed less than two years later. ANR still competes in Brazilian Stock Cars.

** {note 2}
Motor racing has been something of a rather difficult birth for Cecotto Jr. Son of the famous Johnny Cecotto Sr (oddly), Junior struggled in the likes of Formula BMW ADAC and International Formula Master, before claiming 3rd overall in the 2008 German Formula 3 Championship.
A move up to GP2 the following year has sadly produced less than stellar results, with Cecotto Jr registering only a single points score (4th, Monaco Sprint Race, 2010) since his appearance in the series at Monza that year.
Two points finishes in GP2 Asia (against a relatively weakened field) during the 2009-10 season gave the Venezuelan little reward beyond his 17th place in the championship standings.

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