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Gunther to make F2 test debut in Abu Dhabi with Racing Engineering

by Peter Allen


Formula 3 European Championship frontrunner Maximilian Gunther will make his Formula 2 testing debut in Abu Dhabi this week.

The German, who finished third in European F3 this year and second in 2016, will drive for Racing Engineering on the first two days of the test, which runs from Thursday to Saturday.

“I?m really excited about driving my first laps in a Formula 2 car,” he said.

“As an experience, it?s going to be really cool, and I?m grateful to Racing Engineering and BWT for this opportunity.

“I would like to make thorough use of my two test days in Abu Dhabi to familiarise myself with both the car and the tyres.

“This will be a new challenge in two ways, but I feel well prepared for it. Formula 2 is the direct springboard to Formula 1, and I intend to give as good account of myself as possible in the tests.”

While Gustav Malja has been linked to a second season at Racing Engineering next year, the Spanish squad has recalled Norman Nato to drive alongside Gunther on the opening day.

Elsewhere, GP3 champion George Russell and runner-up Jack Aitken will stay with ART Grand Prix for all three days of the test ahead of their expected move up for 2018.

Their former team-mate Nirei Fukuzumi will drive for Arden, joined on the first day by Ralph Boschung who will then test for MP Motorsport on Friday.

Former ART racer Alex Albon moves over to DAMS to join Nicholas Latifi, while former Russian Time man Luca Ghiotto will pair up with ex-Rapax driver Louis Deletraz at MP Motorsport.

Even though the team is absent from the entry list for 2018, Russian Time will carry on with Artem Markelov in the test alongside Honda protege Tadasuke Makino.

Santino Ferrucci stays on at Trident, joined by fellow Haas development driver Arjun Maini, while Rapax – another team without an entry for next season – will run Ferrari junior Guan Yu Zhou alongside veteran Rene Binder, who raced for the team in Jerez.

European F3 champion Lando Norris will continue with Campos Racing for all three days of the test following his race debut last weekend, even though he has signed to race for the returning Carlin in 2018. His team-mate on the first day of the test will be 2016 Auto GP champion Michael Dorrbecker.

Prema will run its confirmed 2018 driver line-up of Nyck de Vries and Sean Gelael.

Day one entry list
Prema: Sean Gelael, Nyck de Vries
Racing Engineering: Norman Nato, Maximilian Gunther
Russian Time: Tadasuke Makino, Artem Markelov
ART Grand Prix: Jack Aitken, George Russell
DAMS: Alex Albon, Nicholas Latifi
Campos: Lando Norris, Michael Dorrbecker
MP Motorsport: Luca Ghiotto, Louis Deletraz
Trident: Arjun Maini, Santino Ferrucci
Rapax: Guan Yu Zhou, Rene Binder
Arden: Nirei Fukuzumi, Ralph Boschung