The Bamboo Engineering tea has been forced to replace an unwell Pasquale di Sabatino with former World Touring Car Championship driver Michel Nykjær for this weekend’s Race of Brazil at Curitiba.
It will be Nykjær’s first WTCC outing since last year’s season-ending round at Macau, after which the Dane was dropped from SUNRED Engineering’s line-up after falling out with one of his major sponsors.
While much of his WTCC experience has been behind the wheel of a SEAT León, Nykjær has kept himself busy in 2012 by racing a Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T – identical to the one he will pilot this weekend – in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship. He currently lies third in this year’s championship standings.
Di Sabatino – who is participating in his maiden year in tin-tops after several seasons in open-wheel racing – has been sidelined after suffering a bout of bronchitis, which then developed into full-blown pneumonia. He has been advised by his doctors that he remains too unwell to make the trans-Atlantic crossing to Brazil for this weekend’s races.
“We’re all very disappointed that Pasquale is unable to drive this weekend,” Bamboo Team Principal Richard Coleman said.
“We are sure he is going to be fit in time for America, and we thank his sponsors for their patience throughout his illness. The whole team wish him the very best and look forward to having him back with us soon.
"We are delighted to have been able to secure the services of Michel at such short notice. He’s a very highly respected driver and has experience with the Cruze so he’s the perfect replacement and we are confident we can have a good weekend.”
"His only problem is the timescale. He’s pretty much just agreed to drive, is jumping on a plane and will be here in Brazil some time tonight and then be straight out on track on Friday afternoon. We’re all looking forward to working with him here."