Denmark’s Michel Nykjær is to replace an ill Pasquale Di Sabatino at bamboo engineering for this weekend’s World Touring Car Championship race in Brazil.
Italian Di Sabatino has been ruled too ill to travel to this weekend’s race in Curitiba after being struck by a serious bout of bronchitis and pneumonia last month. The Italian is still recovering and, despite expecting to travel to Brazil today, has been ordered not to fly.
Former WTCC racer Nykjær is racing in this year’s Swedish Touring Car Championship, where he is currently third in the championship having taken three wins. The Dane is competing for Chevrolet Motorsport Sweden, giving him crucial knowledge of the Chevrolet Cruze which he will campaign for the independent bamboo engineering team this weekend.
Richard Coleman, Team Principal of the bamboo engineering squad, is disappointed not to have Di Sabatino racing for the team this weekend.
“We’re all very disappointed that Pasquale is unable to drive this weekend,” said Coleman. “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 [late on Thursday] and then be straight out on track on Friday afternoon. We’re all looking forward to working with him here.”
Nykjær last raced in the WTCC at the season finale in Macau in 2011. The Dane has 48 starts to his name and has taken a best finish of third in Japan in 2011.