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MARCH 22, 2005

Doors closing in Champ Car

The Formula 1 refugees in America are running out of time as the final Champ Car drivers are handed out (or perhaps one should say, sold to the highest bidder). The announcement that Canada's Andrew Ranger will drive for Mi-Jack Conquest Racing and that Walker Racing will field Alex Tagliani and Australian Formula 3 racer Marcus Marshall, means that there are only a couple of seats left open for the likes of Jos Verstappen and Bjorn Wirdheim. It is expected that former Jordan F1 driver Timo Glock will soon be confirmed as Ryan Hunter-Reay's team mate at Rocketsports, where Tagliani was ousted to make way for Glock's cash. Verstappen will test this week in Sebring with Keith Wiggins's HVM team. Wirdheim is also expected to get a run but if Verstappen gets that ride all that Wirdheim will have left will be a seat with Dale Coyne Racing, alongside Gaston Mazzacane.

It looks therefore that there will be 18 cars when the season kicks off at Long Beach on April 10. They will be: Forsythe Championship Racing (Paul Tracy & Rodolfo Lavin), Newman/Haas Racing (Sebastien Bourdais & Bruno Junqueira), PKV Racing (Jimmy Vasser & Cristiano da Matta), RuSport (AJ Allmendinger & Justin Wilson), Mi-Jack Conquest Racing (Nelson Philippe & Andrew Ranger), Walker Racing (Alex Tagliani & Marcus Marshall), Rocketsports (Ryan Hunter-Reay & probably Timo Glock), HVM (Mario Dominguez and probably Jos Verstappen) and Dale Coyne Racing (Gaston Mazzacane and probably Bjorn Wirdheim).

There is no room therefore for Giorgio Pantano and we hear that he will go to GP2, racing for David Sears's Super Nova Racing.