Rapax have completed their driver lineup for the 2011 GP2 Asia Series with the signing of Julian Leal. The 20-year-old Colombian will race for the Italian team as teammate to Fabio Leimer.
Leal raced in both Formula Renault 3.5 and Auto GP in 2010. He finished 20th overall for Draco in FR3.5 and ninth overall for Trident in Auto GP, scoring a race win at Navarra. He will now join Rapax for his debut GP2 campaign.
“During the last month of November, I had the chance to drive a GP2 Series Dallara at Abu Dhabi, in the latest round of collective testing, and I really enjoyed the car,” said Leal. “Despite it being my first laps in the championship, I clocked the 15th fastest laptime, which I consider a great starting position for a rookie. That made me eager to pick-up the challenge for the first round of the series.
“When I found out that there was a chance to be on-track with Rapax I barely believed it was true,” he added. “They dominated in 2010, what more can I say? I’m really happy for having had this kind of opportunity and I hope to do well though I know it won’t be easy. There are a lot of drivers with many years of GP2 racing behind them, but on the other hand my goal is to improve lap-by-lap. The feedback and the results coming from the GP2 Asia Series will be key to raise my chances to enter the following Main Series. That’s an additional motivation for me to be strong from the very beginning.”
Rapax Managing Director Andrea Bergamini commented: “We analysed Julian’s career and found out he got some really good experience in the Auto GP Championship and in the World Series Renault. Plus, in the first test he entered on a GP2 Series car, he proved able to adapt to a new car quickly, and showed a pretty professional approach. Our goal will be to provide him with the best possible chance to increase his experience, which is key in such a competitive environment like the GP2 Series. We’re proud to contribute to his professional growth and I believe this will be the start of a long and valuable co-operation.”