NOVEMBER 6, 2006

Graham Rahal drops A1 for Champ Car future

Graham Rahal has announced that he is stopping his A1 GP Series races with Team Lebanon because he wants to be in Champ Cars next year - and you can bet that means that a deal is close for the youngster to have given up some more racing experience. There is only one calendar clash between A1 GP and Champ Car this winter with the A1 GP race in Shanghai clashing with Long Beach, and while there may also be clashes during the winter testing, it is more likely that Rahal's prospective team wants to keep him out of trouble.

Rahal, who will be 18 in January, recently tested for Newman Haas Racing and there has been speculation that the young American star - something with Champ Car desperately needs now that AJ Allmendinger has jumped ship to NASCAR - is aiming for a drive alongside Sebastien Bourdais next season. Bruno Junqueira has been with the team since 2003 but has not often been a challenger this year and it is possible that Rahal would step in to replace him. Rahal finished second in the Champ Car Atlantic Series this year, becoming the youngest ever winner in the series.

He will be off to Mexico soon to see the final round of this year's series - which would be a logical place for an announcement to be made.

Rahal was originally hoping to race in GP2 in Europe and bid for an F1 drive in the future but with GP2 offering very few topline teams, it was decided to stay in the United States and concentrate on Champ Car and worry about F1 later.