Franck Montagny will take the third driver role for Super Aguri at the opening two rounds of the 2006 season in Bahrain and Malaysia, the team confirmed on March 1st. Montagny was previously test driver for Renault until being replaced by Heikki Kovalianen for this year.
The Frenchman is not expected to take part in the Friday practice sessions as Super Aguri currently only has two cars available. Instead he will be on hand in case either Takuma Sato or Yuji Ide should be unable to race.
"Super Aguri Formula 1 team today confirms that former Renault F1 test and development driver Franck Montagny has signed a contract with the team to be its third driver for the opening two rounds of the 2006 F1 season," it said in a statement.
"Franck will be on-stand by as third driver for the team at the Bahrain and Malaysian Grands Prix whilst also providing valuable F1 experience and technical knowledge to the fledgling Super Aguri Formula 1 team."
Reportedly the role is only for two races as Montagny wants to keep himself free for ChampCar testing at the end of March. He tested for PKV Racing in February and hopes to compete for them in the US series this season.
Should Montagny go off to race in the States, former Jordan third driver Timo Glock has been linked with the Super Aguri role, as has Honda development driver James Rossiter. However, for the moment alternative drivers are only speculation.
Sato and Ide were present at Silverstone on Tuesday for the final winter test session of the year, which was disrupted by poor weather. The team will start the season with a revised version of the Arrows 2002 chassis, designated the SA05, and will be Honda-powered.