Heylen at Conquest for rest of year
|By David Malsher
||Friday, June 1st 2007, 09:37 GMT
Jan Heylen is to make his full-time return to Champ Car for next week's fourth round driving for the Conquest Racing team.
The Belgian, who was confirmed for a one-off race at his home track of Zolder in August, will now replace Matt Halliday, who drove the opening three rounds of the season for Conquest.
"Am I happy? Are you kidding?!" exclaimed Heylen. "It's been eight months since I've driven a Champ Car and I've been missing it. It's been bad!
"What I'm really happy about is that it has come together with a good bunch of people, and it has been confirmed that it's for the whole year. There won't be any nasty surprises halfway through."
Heylen is due to try out the new-for-2007 DP01-Cosworth today at Putnam Park, near Indianapolis.
"That will be my biggest challenge," said Heylen. "I haven't driven this car before, and like I say it's been eight months since I drove a serious car, so Portland next week will be quite physically challenging. But at least I know the track so that will help.
"Then we do a two-day test at Road America, so by the time we get to the fifth round at Cleveland we should be fine. It is what it is: we'll make the best of it. It's just so great to be back."
Heylen fell out with Conquest Racing's owner and compatriot Eric Bachelart back in February, but he says this has been resolved.
"Yeah, what happened before is forgotten. Remember, Eric was the guy that first gave me a chance in a Champ Car by testing me at the end of 2005. Now we're all happy and motivated to do our best, and everyone is under pressure to perform.
"It was important for me, for Eric, and for Miendert [van Buuren, Zolder race promoter] that it all worked out, because this is going to be big news in Belgium. I want to thank all those people and the investors for helping make this happen and for believing in me."
Bachelart said: "We are excited about having Jan join us for the rest of the season. We've known him for some time now, and he showed promise in his rookie year so we are looking forward to racing with him this season.
"Racing in Belgium with Jan as our driver is something I am really looking forward to. I have raced there many, many times, but this year will be a memorable one no question."