RuSPORT to run one car at Denver
|By David Malsher
||Tuesday, August 8th 2006, 14:51 GMT
RuSPORT has decided not to run Cristiano da Matta's car for this weekend's Grand Prix of Denver.
The Loveland, Colorado-based team - for whom Denver is the nearest to a home event – will instead just run the No. 9 car for championship aspirant Justin Wilson.
The decision was taken as long ago as last Friday, and it means that the Champ Car grid will be down to just 16 cars this weekend. Rocketsports is also due to run only one car, as Denver was never part of Tonis Kasemets' six-race deal with the team.
Instead the Estonian rookie will be racing Rocketsports' Daytona Prototype at Watkins Glen, in place of team owner Paul Gentilozzi.
Speculation is rife over who will get the second RuSPORT car for the remaining four races after Denver, but Jacques Villeneuve's agency has denied that the Canadian, who on Monday officially split from the BMW Formula 1 team, is interested.
Another possibility is compatriot Patrick Carpentier who, like Villeneuve, has near-rock star status in Quebec. Earlier this year, Montreal Champ Car race organiser Alan Labrosse was keen to place Carpentier – who he also manages – at Rocketsports for a one-off, but Patrick elected not to take the chance.
However, he may well be more keen to drive for a recognised top-flight team, not only at Montreal, but also at the final three rounds of the Champ Car World Series at Road America, Surfers Paradise and Mexico City.
Should drivers with more recent Champ Car experience appeal more to RuSPORT team owner Carl Russo, Ronnie Bremer and Ryan Hunter-Reay would likely jump at the chance to drive a competitive ChampCar.