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Lucas di Grassi gets full-time Audi LMP1 deal

Lucas di GrassiFormer grand prix driver Lucas di Grassi will join Audi's LMP1 line-up in 2013.

The Brazilian, 28, has been signed to drive one of the German manufacturer's R18 e-tron quattros after a starring performance on his sportscar debut at the Interlagos World Endurance Championship round in September.

Di Grassi takes the place of Marco Bonanomi in Audi's prototype squad, which will include a three-car attack on the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. The Italian has been released by Audi.

Audi Sport boss Wolfgang Ullrich said: "Lucas was really impressive at Interlagos. If you look at what he has achieved up to now, we can consider that he has a big future."

Di Grassi finished third at Interlagos, sharing an R8 ultra with Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish.

"Audi offered me a dream contract, better than anything I had in F1, so I am very happy," said di Grassi. "This job is only due to my performance; there is none of the F1 commercial mess."

The extent of di Grassi's programme in 2013 has yet to be revealed. Audi said that it would announce at a later date the driver line-ups in each of its cars and which drivers will be chosen for its expected two-car WEC line-up.

Marc Gene, who joined Audi in place of the injured Timo Bernhard for the Spa 6 Hours and then Le Mans, remains with Audi for 2013.

The nine-strong prototype squad is completed by Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler, Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis.

Bernhard and Romain Dumas are returning to Porsche for 2013 as it gears up for its LMP1 entry in 2014. Rinaldo Capello made his last prototype start at Le Mans this year.

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