Kovalainen leads RDD

Rising Finn Heikki Kovalainen, who turned heads last year by claiming the World Series by Nissan and beating Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher on the way to winning the Race of Champions in Paris, heads up a mostly unchanged line up in the Renault Driver Development (RDD) programme.

Kovalainen leads RDD

Kovalainen, 23, will compete this year in the inaugural GP2 series, racing for reigning Formula 3000 champions Arden. Alongside him, 21-year-old Argentinean Jose-Maria Lopez will also compete in the series, racing for the DAMS team.

Brazilian Lucas di Grassi, 20, will hope to add to the two victories he claimed last year in British Formula 3 when he steps up to the F3 Euroseries with Manor Motorsport. Manor team boss John Booth was delighted with the signing, telling Autosport "Lucas is one of the few quick second-year drivers out there."

Di Grassi will join 22-year-old Frenchman Loic Duval in the series, who will compete once again for the Signature team.

The only new member of the squad is 19-year-old Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, who has been rewarded for his Italian Formula Renault championship victory with a spot on the RDD squad and a drive in the World Series by Renault championship, competing for DAMS.

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