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Virgin confirm Quaife-Hobbs, Pic, Wickens for Abu Dhabi test 11 Nov 2011

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (GBR) BVM Formula Renault Eruo Cup, Silverstone, England. 07 June 2008 Race winner Charles Pic (FRA) Barwa Addax Team celebrates on the podium. GP2 Series, Rd 3, Race 2, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday 28 May 2011. Robert Wickens (CDN) Virgin Racing Reserve Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 11 November 2011

Virgin have announced that Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, Charles Pic and the team’s reserve Robert Wickens will drive for them at next week’s young driver test at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit.

Quaife-Hobbs will get the test underway on Tuesday morning (Tuesday) as his reward for being the best classified Marussia Manor Racing driver in the 2011 GP3 Championship. After carrying out two straight-line aero tests for Virgin earlier in the year - in Idiada, Spain and at RAF Cottesmore, UK - it will be the Briton’s third foray behind the wheel of the MVR-02, but his first outing in the car at a Formula One circuit.

“I can’t wait to drive the Marussia Virgin Racing Formula One car again,” said Quaife-Hobbs. “I’m even more excited this time out as I’ll get the chance to run at a proper racing circuit and show more of what I can do. I’m going to enjoy the experience but at the same time I want to learn as much as possible with the team as it’s an important stepping stone for the future.”

For Frenchman Pic it will be the first time he has driven an F1 car. He will take over the reins of the MVR-02 on Tuesday afternoon, followed by a further day of running on Wednesday. The 21 year-old finished fourth in this year’s GP2 Series championship, securing two race wins, five podiums and three pole positions along the way.

“I’d like to thank Marussia Virgin Racing for this opportunity to test a Formula One car for the first time,” said Pic. “It’s going to be a very special moment for me, one I have been waiting for my whole racing career! Formula One is my goal so I will be putting everything I have into the test and look forward to the experience of working with the team and learning as much as I can from them.”

Wickens was given a further opportunity to show what he can do in the MVR-02 when he took over car number 25 for Free Practice 1 in Abu Dhabi on Friday afternoon. This was a reward for winning the World Series by Renault FR3.5 Championship last month. He will now join next week’s test on Thursday, the third and final day of running.

“My feet haven’t really touched the ground since I won the FR3.5 Championship last month and as a result I have some great opportunities here in Abu Dhabi this weekend and also in the test next week,” said the Canadian. “It’s been fantastic to run in the MVR-02 for Free Practice 1 today and then I’ll get another full day in the car next Thursday. It’s been a very positive year working with Marussia Virgin Racing, so it’s great to get these chances and show that I’m ready for the next level.”

Commenting on Virgin’s line-up for the November 15-17 test, team principal John Booth said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer Adrian, Charles and our Reserve Driver Robert Wickens seat time in the MVR-02 next week and in return we look forward to some convincing performances from all of them.

“The young driver test is a fantastic opportunity to see the cream of the next generation of talent in action for the various teams and to enable them to demonstrate that they have what it takes to progress to the highest level of motorsport. In the meantime of course, we’ve also had Robert in the car for Free Practice 1 today and it’s been very rewarding to see him in action. We’ll be keeping a close eye on all of them during the week ahead.”

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