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D'Ambrosio secures Friday drive with Virgin

ESPNF1 Staff
September 20, 2010 « Schumacher 'excited' by Singapore spectacle | »
Jerome d'Ambrosio will drive during Friday practice © Sutton Images
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GP2 driver Jerome d'Ambrosio has been signed as a Friday test driver by Virgin for four of the final five grands prix of the season.

The 25-year-old Belgian will drive in the Friday morning practice sessions at Singapore, Japan, Korea and Brazil, taking the seat of Lucas di Grassi at each. D'Ambrosio had been linked to the seat after the Italian Grand Prix and has also been mooted as a potential race drive next year.

The team said that it would use the sessions to evaluate d'Ambrosio's potential.

"We are very pleased to welcome Jerome to Virgin Racing and we look forward to providing him with the opportunity to drive the VR-01 during the first free practice session of the next four race weekends," said Graeme Lowdon, CEO of Virgin Racing. "He will also take part in our young driver test in Abu Dhabi at the end of the season.

"We have a contract with Timo Glock for another two years and an option on the services of Lucas di Grassi for next year. Both drivers have done an outstanding job for us in our debut season. We are always looking to progress new racing talent and the team out of which Virgin Racing was born has a long history of this. Jerome is a real racer and very deserving of this opportunity. We are looking forward to evaluating his performance with effect from next weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

D'Ambrosio has been driving in GP2 this year as well as being a Renault reserve driver. He said he was delighted to take up the opportunity with Virgin.

"My ultimate goal has always been to race in Formula 1 and I am delighted to get a step closer," he said. "I wish to thank Virgin Racing and Gravity Sport Management for their confidence. I won't disappoint them. This drive is a fantastic opportunity and I am looking forward to helping the team in every way I can, as well as gaining experience on four of the most demanding tracks of the F1 calendar. Looking at the 2011 season, this will be very useful. Also, I will be very proud to wear the Belgian colours on my helmet during these official practice sessions, as it means a lot to me."

D'Ambrosio is currently tenth in the GP2 drivers' standings, his only win coming at Monaco's sprint race.