Stefano Coletti has become the first driver to have his place confirmed on the 2013 GP2 Series grid after Rapax announced the Monegasque driver would be sticking with the team he raced with at the final two weekends of this season.

Coletti experienced a tough second full campaign in the category, managing just one podium finish in the first 20 races of the year with Scuderia Coloni, coming off the back of three sprint race wins during 2011 for Trident Racing.

He parted company with Coloni ahead of the Monza weekend and switched to Rapax, who themselves had endured a difficult time of things with race winner Tom Dillmann running out of funds to continue with the team. Coletti finished eighth and fourth in the two races in Italy, and was eighth in the final race at Singapore and also took the fastest lap point.

“This is really a great opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to starting the next season,” said Coletti, 23. “To continue the work done together from the next test in October, after two races with them in the last part of 2012, would represent a fantastic platform to prepare the new season.

“I am strongly committed to get the most out of this opportunity while doing the best possible job for the team. Rapax has shown that it is an excellent place for a young driver to work and I intend to make the most of this opportunity. Let me thank the owners and all the management at Rapax, for the commitment showed to get this deal done and also my sponsors and my family for supporting me again.”

Rapax managing director Andrea Bergamini added: “We’re very excited to be able to keep working with someone like Stefano as he’s a high-quality driver. We followed him since the start of his GP2 Series career and, when the chance to run him in the last two rounds of the 2012 championship came, we decided to go for it.

“The decision to keep working together for 2013 was a natural consequence of the relationship. I’m also really happy with the moment this decision came. Usually the teams use the autumn tests to evaluate the possible candidates for the following year, we will be taking full advantage of the sessions to start some early preparations for the season.”

Last year Rapax did indeed spend the entirety of winter testing running different drivers, only confirming its pairing of Dillmann and Ricardo Teixeira on the eve of the championship.