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Hirate makes test debut for Toyota 06 Dec 2006

Kohei Hirate (JPN) Toyota talks with an engineer. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain. 6 December. World ©  Bumstead/Sutton.

Japanese driver Kohei Hirate got his first taste of Formula One power on Wednesday when he joined Toyota for their winter test at Jerez. Hirate, a member of the team’s young driver programme, was awarded the opportunity to test after competing in this season’s Formula 3 Euro Series.

Hirate was joined on track by Toyota’s third driver Franck Montagny, while fellow Japanese hopeful Kamui Kobayashi, who tested for the team at last week’s Barcelona session, watched from the pits.

Twenty year-old Hirate enjoyed a successful 2006 in Formula Three. He scored one win for his team Manor Motorsport and ended the season third in the championship. Next year, he will compete in the GP2 series.