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Zonta to attend Auto Africa '06

2006-09-27 15:51
Ricardo Zonta, the third driver in the Panasonic Toyota F1 Racing team, will attend Auto Africa 2006 on October 26 and 28th.

Zonta will fly to South Africa directly from his 'home' Grand Prix at the Interlagos circuit, at Sao Paulo, in Brazil. This year marks Zonta's fourth year with the Toyota F1 team, having been reserve driver in 2003 and 2004 before ceding this position to Olivier Panis, of France, last year.

Zonta will divide his time between the replica F1 car on the Toyota stand in Hall 6 and at the full-scale Toyota F1 simulator in Hall 7 on the preview day of October 26 and the public day of October 28.

Zonta won the FIA Formula 3000 title in 1998 and then spent a year in sports cars, winning the 1998 FIA GT title with the Mercedes-Benz team. Test driving for McLaren led to a drive with the new BAR team in 1999, as team-mate to Jacques Villeneuve.

He continued with BAR in 2000 and then moved to Jordan as their test driver in 2001. During the year he substituted twice for Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

He moved out of F1 in 2002 and won the Telefonica World Series by Nissan single-seater championship, which again boosted his reputation. He was subsequently invited to join Panasonic Toyota Racing as test driver in 2003.

The next year his role became more prominent when he had the chance to undertake third driver duties on Fridays at Grand Prix meetings. He continued to impress the team and was promoted to a race seat for five races.

Ricardo continued his Friday role into 2005 and stepped in at Indianapolis after Ralf Schumacher's accident in free practice.

Although he took part in qualifying, like the other Michelin tyre users he was destined not to race. As Toyota finished in the top four of the constructors' championship last year the team was not eligible to run a third car on Fridays this year.

"Of course it?s disappointing not to be driving on the Grand Prix weekends and providing feedback on tyre choice, but I still go to each Grand Prix," commented the Brazilian.

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