Daniel de Jong will return to GP2 at Valencia this weekend as a replacement for Ricardo Teixeira at Rapax.
The announcement run contrary to rumours yesterday that Rapax leading man Tom Dillmann had been ousted due to budgetary reasons.
Teixeira apparently reported ill to team boss Gianfranco Sovernigo; however in a statement on his website from last Friday, de Jong declared his participation for four race weekends, starting with Valencia.
De Jong will also be in racing for Rapax at Silverstone, Hunagary and Spa-Francorchamps – all rounds where de Jong is free from existing Auto GP duties.
That is – of course – assuming Teixeira continues to get ill at the appropriate times. Regardless, Teixeira being sidelined by a timely “illness” is a rather hamfisted way of replacing a driver clearly struggling with the level of competition in GP2.
In his statement last Friday, de Jong noted that:
“This is an exciting time for my career, I’m really happy to have been able to agree a deal with the guys at Rapax to make my GP2 debut and I’d like to take this chance to thank the team for giving me the opportunity. We had a good GP2 test earlier in the year at Jerez but since then we’ve been focusing on AUTO GP.
“It’s going to be a really big challenge to step into the GP2 Series in the middle of the season but I can’t wait to get out there in Valencia, it’s a great opportunity for me. I know it’s going to be the biggest challenge of my career so far but I’m hoping we can do a good job and move forward from Valencia on – let’s see how it goes!”
“We got the news of Teixeira’s illness at the eve of the round at Valencia, and we wish him a quick comeback. We’ll do our best together with Dillmann to keep the Angolan banner and the Sonangol name high in Spain. We’re also proud to be bringing a promising young driver like De Jong to his maiden GP2 Race.
“We met with Daniel in the 2012 pre-season tests and we’ve always been in-touch with the goal of working together for 2013. At the eve of the round at Valencia, the chance came earlier than planned, and for us it’s been a logical decision”.
As an aside, the initial reporting of this story has been very poor from all quarters. Rumours began to fly yesterday evening amidst a number of poorly re-reported links from Dutch websites, with “exclusives” cobbled together using Google Translate.
Downcast tweets from Dillmann added to the confusion, leading some – and I include my own Twitter feed in that – to jump to the conclusion that the Frenchman was indeed out.
Regardless, Teixeira being sidelined by a timely “illness” is a rather hamfisted way of replacing a driver clearly struggling with the level of competition in GP2.