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Baumgartner set for Minardi

Minardi has revealed that it has offered Hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner a race drive for the 2004 season.

The deal is contingent on the completion of necessary commercial arrangements, although the Italian team is hopeful that Baumgartner's place in the team can be finalised before the end of the week.

Baumgartner raced in Formula 3000 for the majority of the season, although he competed in two grands prix for Jordan, deputising for the injured Ralph Firman in Hungary and Italy.

"I have watched Zsolt's racing career since his F3000 days," said Minardi boss Paul Stoddart. "I was hugely impressed by the way in which he conducted himself when thrust into the spotlight at his home Grand Prix, in Hungary, this year, stepping in for the injured Ralph Firman at very short notice.

"I'm sure he will be a real asset to European Minardi, and as he is fluent in five languages, including Italian, I am sure he will fit in like a glove when it comes to working with the team. We look forward to a great season with Zsolt in 2004."

Should Baumgartner secure the drive, he will join Italian Gianmaria Bruni in the team. This leaves Jordan as the only team yet to complete its driver line-up for the 2004 season.

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