Renault names 2007 DDP class

The Renault Driver development Programme announces its 2007 class Five drivers make up the RDD 2007 class and will represent Renault in the most prestigious European championships. For five years, the Renault Driver Development Programme has...

The Renault Driver development Programme announces its 2007 class

Five drivers make up the RDD 2007 class and will represent Renault in the most prestigious European championships.

For five years, the Renault Driver Development Programme has been aiming at discovering the new talents of motorsport and then train and prepare them for the demands of their job as professional drivers. After taking Heikki Kovalainen under its wing in 2002, the RDD Programme has guided him through the upper echelons of the competition. Today, the Finn is one of the official drivers of the Formula 1 double World Champions Renault F1 Team.

This season, the RDD Programme bets on five young drivers whose talent and ambitions will be displayed in GP2 Series, World Series by Renault, F3 Euroseries and FR 2.0.

Lucas di Grassi -- Brazilian -- 22 years old
Lucas entered the RDD Programme in 2004 and he showed his potential when he won the very prestigious 52nd Macao Grand Prix in 2005. After experiencing a more delicate season in 2006, Lucas will clearly be one of the most serious candidates to the GP2 Series 2007 title. He will be driving for the double title-holder team ART Grand Prix.

"For the past three years, Renault has helped me become a better and stronger driver. It is an immense chance to be part of the RDD Programme. I gained a lot of experience last season and I will use it well in order to win the GP2 title in 2007."

Romain Grosjean -- French -- 20 years old
Romain is one of the most promising French drivers of his generation. After he won the French FR 2.0 Championship in 2005, Romain entered the RDD Programme. The following year, in F3 Euroseries, he experienced a more challenging season, but his talent and determination were recognised. Once again this year, he is part of the RDD Programme and will be fighting for the F3 Euroseries crown with the title-holder team ASM.

"I am extremely proud to be part of the RDD for the second year. I realise how lucky I am: Renault is a big International group with a double World Champions F1 Team and they support me."

Ben Hanley -- British -- 22 years old
Fast and combative, Ben Hanley enters his second year within the RDD Programme. In 2006, for his second season in motorsport, he participated to the World Series by Renault. Finishing in the points on a regular basis, Ben also scored a victory and a podium in Misano, Italy. For this season, he will fight for the WSR title with Prema Powerteam.

"Being part of the RDD Programme is priceless. In a year, I have become a better driver physically and mentally. I will be even stronger this season."

Nelson Panciatici -- French -- 18 years old
At 17 years old, Nelson Panciatici became one of the youngest drivers to ever enter the FR 2.0 Championship. Extremely fast and constantly improving, Nelson finished his 2006 season winning his first race in Albi and scoring 6 podiums and 1 pole position. A newcomer to the RDD Programme this season, Nelson will try and prove his talent in the Eurocup and FR 2.0 French Championship with the leading team SG Formula.

"I am proud to be part of the RDD Programme. It really boosts my motivation: Renault is a French company that shines in Formula One. I want to work hard and do my best in order to prove that I belong to this demanding Programme."

Dani Clos -- Spanish -- 18 years old
With 8 victories -- including 6 wins in a row -- and 3 podiums, Dani Clos became Champion of the Italian FR 2.0 Championship in 2006. During that same season, he also fought for the Eurocup title, winning 3 races and scoring 4 pole positions. The very promising Dani -- also the youngest member of this year's RDD class -- will compete in the Formula 3 Euroseries Championship with Signature.

"I know that through this Programme I have better chance of becoming a professional driver. I know it's a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'll do whatever it takes in order to prove to Renault that they made the right decision in choosing me."

About the Renault Driver Development programme
The RDD Programme was launched in 2002 by the Renault F1 Team. For the duration of one season, the selected drivers have to prove their potential on track in their championship, but also they will have to prove their athletics qualities while being instructed by a physical trainer dedicated to the drivers' performance and improvement. The RDD drivers also have to be able to represent Renault in the world. The RDD programme is recognised as a selective, rigorous and effective programme.

-credit: renaultf1

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About this article
Series F3 Europe , Formula Renault , FIA F2 , Formula V8 3.5
Drivers Heikki Kovalainen , Lucas di Grassi , Romain Grosjean , Dani Clos , Ben Hanley , Nelson Panciatici
Teams ART Grand Prix , Renault F1 Team