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GP3 NEWS 

Koiranen signs Vainio, Kujala for 2013 GP3 season

Aaro Vainio Lotus GP3 2012Koiranen GP has added GP3 race winner Aaro Vainio and youngster Patrick Kujala to its line-up ahead of its maiden GP3 Series campaign.

The Finnish outfit, confirmed as Ocean Racing's replacement late last year, had already signed Formula Renault 3.5 race winner Kevin Korjus last week.

Vainio, 19, claimed his breakthrough GP3 win at Monaco last year, and was in contention for the 2012 crown until the final round.

He also scored one podium, at the Barcelona season finale, from six Formula Renault 3.5 outings with Team RFR.

Kujala will be the team's youngest driver, stepping up into GP3 from Formula Renault 2.0 at the age of 16.

He was crowned ALPS Rookie champion last year.

Koiranen GP team manager Afa Heikkinen believes the driver line-up will allow the team to challenge at the front in its maiden campaign.

"Entering GP3 series is a major challenge for us, but we are confident we can do the job," he explained.

"We have the right people and good drivers, I believe we can challenge front runners in the course of the season.

"However, we have no illusions, we know it won't be easy."

AUTOSPORT says
News editor Glenn Freeman

Don't be surprised if Koiranen GP makes a big impact in its first year of GP3.

This is a team with a phenomenal record in Formula Renault 2.0 in recent years, mopping up various European titles.

It clearly knows a thing or two when it comes to spec-single seater racing, and while the new GP3 car makes this move a bigger step than it would have been a year ago, don't expect this team to take too long to get up to speed.

No matter how good the car is, you are powerless without some talent in your driver line-up, and Koiranen has started well in this department too.

While Kujala is inexperienced, in Vainio and Korjus it has drivers with experience of the faster Formula Renault 3.5 machinery, so the new GP3 car will not feel like a step up in performance.

Vainio, let's not forget, was also a title contender in GP3 before making six FR3.5 starts at the end of last year. He adapted well to the Renault series and scored a podium in the season finale, so an upgraded GP3 car shouldn't throw him off his stride.

Perhaps crucially, the Finn also has experience of racing for F1-support series powerhouse ART Grand Prix, so he will be able to bring some useful knowledge to the team that is moving up to take on the big guns.

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