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Brazil reveals line-up

NEWS STORY
18/09/2006

A1 Team Brasil has today announced a dynamic driver line-up that will see the squad supporting the careers of young Brazilian drivers. After a summer of planning and establishing this new mission, Team Principal and Seatholder Emerson Fittipaldi is thrilled to confirm that Christiano 'Tuka' Rocha will take on the main driving duties for the team for the first three races in Zandvoort, Brno and Beijing. He can also confirm that the reserve drivers will be Ruben Carrapatoso in The Netherlands, Alexandre 'Xandi' Negrão for the Czech Republic race, and Raphael Matos in China.

The drivers will continue to be evaluated through the opening part of the season, and the team will announce the line-up after this period for the remainder of the season. Other young talents are still under consideration.

Tuka Rocha deputised for Nelson Piquet Jr and Christian Fittipaldi in last year's championship, and will begin this season as the team's lead driver, a strong measure of the success that he has achieved since the close of the 05/06 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. After joining the Euro 3000 series he made an instant impact, notching up several podium finishes. He improved that with a thrilling victory at Silverstone this year, the first win for his team in 25 years, at the same time marking him out as a real talent for the future.

Tuka will be supported in the first three rounds by Ruben, Xandi and Raphael. These three young drivers are a part of the up-and-coming Brazilian motor racing generation, and A1 Team Brasil is happy to give them a chance to perform on the world stage as they form a solid support to the team's 06/07 title ambitions.

Emerson Fittipaldi: "I'm very excited at the prospect of this second season with A1 Team Brasil. I am looking forward to bringing together the experience we gained during the inaugural season with an incredible new crop of talented Brazilian drivers, and I think we have an excellent chance to battle for the title. The idea of giving new drivers an opportunity to compete for our country is fantastic, and it is making me very happy to be involved in A1GP."

Tuka Rocha: "I am so happy that I have been given this opportunity. Now I have got to do a good job and get the team off to a good start. This is everything I have dreamed of since last year and now it's coming true so I couldn't be happier. I hope I can make everyone in Brasil proud of the team."

Ruben Carrapatoso: "I would like to thank Emerson for the opportunity to represent Brasil in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. It will be a great pleasure for me to be a part of the Brazilian team. I hope that the team can score some great results for our country, and I will be giving my all to help the team achieve victory."

Xandi Negrão: "I am really looking forward to Brno. I want to perform well for the team and to be involved throughout the season. I did half a day of testing at Silverstone in the car which was good, I really enjoyed driving the car and can't wait until I get to the race weekend."

Raphael Matos: "This is a unique opportunity for me as a driver as I have been developing my career in the USA since 2002. The test at Silverstone was a good chance to get an idea of the car and the atmosphere of the series, and I felt very comfortable straight away. I really believe in the potential of the A1 Team Brasil development programme, and I will be contributing as much as I can. I can't wait to drive the car in Beijing."

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