De la Rosa for 3rd McLaren

Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa has claimed he will drive the third McLaren on Friday at the season opening Australian Grand Prix next month.

De la Rosa for 3rd McLaren

De la Rosa also said his team has confirmed he will drive the third car both in Malaysia and Bahrain, the second and third rounds of the 2005 Championship. The season starts in Melbourne on 6 March.

"It's true that I've been guaranteed the seat for Australia, Malaysia and Bahrain," de la Rosa told Spanish daily As. "For the next races they will decide if it's Wurz or me. But at the moment I'm only thinking about those three races."

Under current regulations, the bottom six teams from the previous year are allowed to run a third car on Friday prior to each Grand Prix weekend. McLaren finished last year in fifth position in the Constructors' Championship, which means they will be allowed to run another car next season.

The team have de la Rosa and Alexander Wurz as test drivers, although the Austrian has had problems fitting inside the new MP4-20 and is yet to test the car. Wurz measures 1.82 meters and has had difficulties fitting into previous cars. De la Rosa is considerably shorter.

The 33-year old Catalan has been a McLaren tester since the 2003 season. He had previously raced for the Arrows and Jaguar teams, scoring six points in total.

Now the Spaniard is hoping the chance to test during Grand Prix weekends will help him towards a return to racing in 2006.

"That's my goal," de la Rosa said. "I don't know if I'll achieve it, but I'll try with all strength, as I usually do. I'm aware this is one of the final chances that I'll have to try to get back to racing, and I'm going to seize it."

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