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Herbert still hopeful of 2002 US drive

Former Formula 1 ace Johnny Herbert says he is still hopeful of landing a drive in either Champ Cars or the rival Indy Racing League series for next year, despite the fact that he is missing the final round of the IRL following its postponement

Herbert was due to compete in the IRL season finale at Texas two weeks ago, but the race was cancelled due to the American terrorist attacks. The round has been re-scheduled for October 6, which clashes with Herbert's ALMS commitments at Road Atlanta preventing the Brit from competing.

The 37-year-old was due to drive alongside Jeff Ward at Heritage Motorsports in a G Force-Oldsmobile, but his drive with the Champion Audi team in the showcase Petit Le Mans race will take precedent.

"There's a clash and that's that, but I'm still hopeful of landing something for next year," said Herbert, who has set his sights on competing in next year's Indy 500.

The plucky Brit tested with Heritage in August at Kentucky and put in a lap that was quick enough for a front row grid position. But as well as driving with Heritage, Herbert has also been courting various Champ Car teams and tested for the Dale Coyne team at Rockingham a week before his run at Kentucky.

Daniella Zanardi, wife of the seriously injured Alex, who lost his legs during the German 500 two weeks ago, also wanted Herbert to drive her husband's Mo Nunn Racing Reynard at Rockingham last weekend. The team has yet to confirm its drivers for next year.

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