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Pastorelli lands Rocketsports seat

Rocketsports Racing have announced that former Formula One test driver Nicky Pastorelli will race their #8 car for the remainder of the 2006 season

The 23-year-old Dutchman, who was originally signed as Midland F1's third driver for this year only to lose the role when a sponsor fell through, attended the Long Beach season-opener as a guest of Rocketsports before joining the team for tests at Portland and Milwaukee.

Although he did not set any eye-catching times, the team were sufficiently impressed to offer him a full-time seat and he will make his Champ Car race debut in round two at Houston in a fortnight.

The 2004 Euro F3000 champion hopes the fact that the 1.6-mile Reliant Park street circuit will be new to the entire Champ Car field will play in his favour.

"I am very excited to join the Rocketsports Racing team," Pastorelli said.

"I have enjoyed working with the team and getting to know them and the car.

They have helped me a lot and I know that I can learn a lot this season by working with them.

"Houston will be a good opportunity for me to make my Champ Car debut because, since it is a new venue to all the teams and drivers, it will be a level playing field and technically I won't be a 'rookie' on that course.

"Every driver will be in the same situation as me, learning the track and finding a good race set-up.

"It will be a great challenge, one that I am really looking forward to in addition to the other events that I will be racing in this year with Rocketsports."

Rocketsports did not confirm any plans for Antonio Pizzonia, who took the #8 entry to a tenth-place finish at Long Beach and had been tipped to form an all-Brazilian driver line-up with fellow F1 refugee Enrique Bernoldi.

Pizzonia's future in the team remains unclear.

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