Mikhail Aleshin in Sonoma IndyCar return

Mikhail Aleshin will return to the Verizon IndyCar Series for the penultimate round of the season at Sonoma, with hope for a full-time return to the series in 2016.

The SMP Racing-backed Russian driver will reunite with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at the Northern California venue for the final round of the season, joining Ryan Briscoe and James Jakes in a three-car line-up, and will drive the #77 entry.

Trade sanctions between the United States and his native Russia had denied Aleshin a full-time return to the series in 2015, with the Russian driver concentrating on racing in the European Le Mans Championship instead, but the twenty-eight-year-old is now focusing on returning to IndyCar.

“It was not easy, for sure, but I have to say thanks to my sponsor SMP Racing, Sam Schmidt, and Ric Peterson for giving me the opportunity to race at Sonoma,” said Aleshin to Racer.com.

“It means a lot to me to come back and to do this last race that I didn’t do last year; I know last year it was in a different place, but it is important for me to come back to finish things and I hope it’s only the beginning.

“I’m really happy to test, to do this race, and to be in front of the great American spectators. For now, we’re only talking about Sonoma so nothing is secure for 2016, but I can say we have plans…”