GP3 Graduate Duo To Race For DAMS In Abu Dhabi

Rio Haryanto - Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/LAT Photographic/GP2 Media Service
Rio Haryanto testing for DAMS at Barcelona last month - Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/LAT Photographic/GP2 Media Service

DAMS have revealed their driver lineup for next weekend's non-championship GP2 Final race at Abu Dhabi, with GP3 graduates Rio Haryanto and Nigel Melker joining the French squad.

Indonesian racer Haryanto has won races in GP3 for the past two seasons with the Manor team, finishing seventh in this year's standings. He also raced for DAMS in Auto GP, winning at Valencia and also finishing seventh overall. He tested for DAMS' GP2 outfit on the first day of post-season testing at Jerez as well as both days at Barcelona.

“I can't wait to compete in my first GP2 event,” said the 18-year-old. “I'm sure that the experience will help me for the 2012 season. I'm also very grateful to [personal sponsor] Pertamina for its unwavering support which has helped me to continue at the topmost level.”

Melker has also raced in GP3 for two years, finishing third overall this season as well as fourth in the F3 Euro Series with Mucke Motorsport. The Dutchman tested for the Arden, Ocean and iSport teams  at Jerez and Barcelona, but will line up for DAMS in Abu Dhabi.

“First of all, I am honoured to drive in the 2011 championship-winning car,” said 20-year-old Melker. “I would like to thank the team for this opportunity and the chance they have given me. I am really thrilled to race at the Formula One event in Abu Dhabi.

“This is a good opportunity for me as a rookie to get to know the team and to obtain more experience in this challenging series. Last month, I obtained very positive results during the GP2 test days. Besides this, I am happy to be competitive again in 2011 as I am aiming for a good result.”

DAMS general manager Loic David, who ran Romain Grosjean to the GP2 drivers' crown in 2011, commented: “We're delighted to welcome a couple of new talented drivers from GP3 for the 2011 GP2 final in Abu Dhabi. After our successful season that ended with the conquest of the drivers' title, we're determined to play a leading role thanks to these promising youngsters who both put on good performances during the end-of-season tests.”