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France's Montagny replaces Ide at Super Aguri

Written by: Staff

NUERBURGRING, Germany, May 4 (Reuters) Frenchman Franck Montagny will drive for Super Aguri instead of Japanese rookie Yuji Ide in Sunday's European Grand Prix, the Formula One team announced today.

Ide, 31, will drop back to third driver for Friday practice only after the sport's governing body recommended he get more mileage following poor performances in the four races to date.

Montagny, a former Renault test driver who filled the reserve role for Jordan at the Nuerburgring last year, will be the first French race driver since Toyota's Olivier Panis retired at the end of 2004.

In the last race at Imola, Ide was reprimanded by the stewards for causing a spectacular accident that sent Midland's Christijan Albers barrel-rolling into the gravel.

Several teams and drivers have voiced safety concerns about Ide's driving.

''We accept the advice offered by the FIA to allow Yuji to accrue the mileage he requires to improve in Formula One during our testing days only,'' said team principal Aguri Suzuki in a statement at the Nuerburgring.

''The team has made every effort to ensure that Yuji settled into his new F1 surroundings and I think that he has coped incredibly well under the circumstances.

''I wish that I could have given Yuji more time in the car before the start of the season, but with the team being put together so rapidly we were unable to allow him the proper testing that he should have experienced.'' Super Aguri, formed in a matter of months with Honda support, are the newest team on the grid and began the season with the first all-Japanese lineup of Ide and experienced Takuma Sato.

Ide, a runner-up in last year's Formula Nippon championship, began the season with no previous Formula One experience and barely any testing under his belt.

''I will continue to look after Yuji's interests and support his continuing efforts within the team, including his path back to a Formula One race seat,'' Suzuki said.

''As a result, Franck Montagny will drive for us in the second race seat at the European Grand Prix.'' REUTERS AY PM1703

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