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GP MASTERS NEWS 

Martini relaxed ahead of debut

Pierlugi Martini insists he won't be taking Grand Prix Masters too seriously despite being tipped by many as one of the favourites for this weekend's Qatar race.

Martini only became eligible for the series for ex-Formula One drivers after turning 45 last weekend, and will make his debut in this weekend's season opener at the Losail International Circuit.

Martini tested the 600 bhp GP Masters car for 50 laps of Silverstone last month, and although no lap times were published from the test session, autosport.com understands that his lap times were indicative of a front-running pace.

The Italian, who became synonymous with Minardi during his F1 career leading the team's one and only lap at the 1989 Portuguese Grand Prix, admits he has prepared physically for this weekend but won't be treating it like he did his Formula One career.

"I'm returning because for me it is enjoyable to drive with my old friends," Martini told autosport.com. "It is important to be competitive and to feel well with myself and with my life. The racing is inside of me and the most important thing in my life. And with GP Masters I have found a good solution to do a race again.

"I will learn now if I will be competitive or not. But it is different because now it is not important to be competitive; when I was in Formula One and sportscars I was a professional driver and my life was just for winning.

"I look for the win but it is different situation now. This is more relaxing and a different approach.

"The car is very impressive. It is better than my last Formula One car - much better. The physical aspect is a problem. Not for the car but for my body. When you stay a lot of time out of the car the muscles of the neck start sleeping. I've done a month of bicycle training and some elastic work for my neck.

"I needed to start again. But after one race I'll be ok."

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