MICHAEL PATRIZI TO DRIVE TEAM AUSTRALIA ATLANTIC FOR FINAL TWO ROUNDS Australian Michael Patrizi will join Team Australia for the final two rounds of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship beginning this weekend in Montreal, Canada. Patrizi, 22,...
MICHAEL PATRIZI TO DRIVE TEAM AUSTRALIA ATLANTIC FOR FINAL TWO ROUNDS
Australian Michael Patrizi will join Team Australia for the final two rounds of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship beginning this weekend in Montreal, Canada.
Patrizi, 22, will join Atlantic Championship leader Simon Pagenaud in the Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Atlantic squad at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for this weekend's 11th round of the championship in Montreal and the final round at the classic Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Patrizi will pilot the #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Swift previously driven by James Davison.
Contractual negotiations between Team Australia and the Davisons collapsed some time ago. The board of Team Australia tried to resolve the situation, but unfortunately were unable to come to a solution acceptable to both parties.
This is a legally sensitive issue and Team Australia will make no further comment regarding contractual arrangements, except to say that it is very disappointing to come so far and invest a lot of time and energy to have it fail at this very late stage.
Everyone at Team Australia is very disappointed that the team has had the further expense of switching to a new driver late in the season.
Patrizi already has a history and relationship with Team Australia. He drove one of the team's Formula BMW's in a one-off appearance at the Grand Prix of Denver in August 2005, qualifying fourth and finishing fifth. Patrizi also assisted Team Australia at last year's Lexmark Indy 300, operating the pit board for Team Australia star Will Power on his Champ Car debut in the Aussie Vineyards car.
This season the West Australian has been based in the United Kingdom racing on a fully-funded BMW Motorsport program in the Formula BMW UK Championship. Patrizi was awarded the deal as a result of his impressive 2005 season in the Formula BMW Asia Championship, where he won the Rookie Cup and finished second in the overall championship. Patrizi currently lies eighth in the competitive Formula BMW UK Championship, where he drives for Motaworld Racing.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --
Michael Patrizi -- #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Swift
"It's really exciting to be joining Team Australia for Montreal and Road America," said Patrizi.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I appreciate Craig and Derrick offering me the chance to drive the Aussie Vineyards Atlantic car at two of the best circuits on the schedule.
"I have been lucky enough to drive a Team Australia car once before in Denver last year and it was an amazing experience. It's a very motivating feeling to get into one of those green and gold cars and I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity by Team Australia.
"Thankfully the final two rounds of the Atlantic Championship do not clash with the final two rounds of the Formula BMW UK Championship. It's quite a difficult time to be flying across the Atlantic Ocean, but it is definitely worth it.
"I've been following Team Australia's progress this year and Simon has been doing a superb job. It will be great to drive alongside him as he drives for the championship.
"The whole Atlantic championship has risen to a new level this year so I am itching to get over there and have a steer of the new car. I understand that it will be a huge challenge for me this weekend in Montreal, but I am fully aware of what I have to do."
Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner
"I'm very pleased to have Michael in one of our Atlantic cars for the final two rounds of the year," said Gore.
"It's exciting to be joined by a very talented young Australian driver for this final part of the season as Simon continues to push for Team Australia's first championship.
"It's disappointing that things with James didn't work out the way we would have liked, but it's fantastic that Team Australia will still field two green and gold Aussie Vineyards Atlantic cars in the final two rounds of the season.
"Michael is a very talented and genuine young man and I can't think of anyone more appropriate to jump into the #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards car. Derrick and I have already worked with Michael and it's great that he is back in the Team Australia colours for the final part of the season."
Derrick Walker -- Team Australia Co-Owner
"We have been dealing with an unresolved contract issue for some time with James Davison and his sponsors," said Walker.
"Unfortunately time has run out and we were unable to resolve this issue so, therefore, we will replace James Davison with Michael Patrizi.
"We were very fortunate to have Michael available to us. We have worked together in the past and look forward to working with Michael again at Montreal and Elkhart Lake."