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Midland gives test drive to Russian
November 24, 2005 23:02 IST
Midland will give Russian Roman Rusinov his first taste of Formula One driving at a test in Spain next month.
The team, owned by Russian-born Canadian billionaire Alex Shnaider, will compete next season under a Russian racing licence after taking over Jordan.
Midland were launched in Moscow's Red Square in February with Shnaider promising to bring a Russian flavour to a sport that has yet to have a Russian driver in the world championship.
Rusinov, 24, will not be the first Russian to drive a contemporary Formula One car but he has the best chance of graduating to a race seat.
"It makes perfect sense for our team to test a Russian driver and we are looking forward to working with him at Jerez," said Midland team boss Colin Kolles on Thursday.
Rusinov, who has raced in the Le Mans endurance series, said the December 10 test at the southern Spanish circuit would be a big moment.
"It would not be an exaggeration to say that I have been waiting my entire career for this moment," he said. "This test is the first but crucial step on my way to F1.
Russia's Sergei Zlobin tested for struggling Minardi in 2002 as part of a sponsorship deal with Russian gas giant Gazprom.
Midland have signed Dutchman Nicky Pastorelli as their official test and reserve driver for next season with compatriot Christijan Albers confirmed as one of their two race drivers.
Portugal's Tiago Monteiro, the top rookie with Jordan this season, is expected to take the other drive.
The team will also test Belgian Jeffrey van Hooydonk, Germany's Markus Winkelhock and Italian Thomas Biagi.
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