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Di Resta aiming to take F1 chance

Paul di Resta celebrates a DTM triumph
Di Resta has been competing in the DTM touring car championship

Paul di Resta - the cousin of IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti - believes he is close to realising his Formula 1 dream.

The 23-year-old Scot on Tuesday started three days of testing with the Force India team, who are looking for a test and reserve driver for next season.

"It's a great opportunity and something I have waited a very long time to get a hold of," Di Resta told BBC Scotland.

"Who knows what the future holds, but my aim is to get into Formula 1."

Di Resta, from Uphall in West Lothian, began his career in karting before moving into British Formula Renault and then the Formula Three Euroseries, beating present F1 Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel to the title in 2006.

The Scot moved to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) championship in 2007 and has previously been linked with a move to F1 with McLaren Mercedes and Virgin Racing.

Force India, who finished ninth in the F1 championship in the season just past, have decided to retain Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi as their drivers for 2010.

But they also announced that JR Hildebrand, the 21-year-old American who this year won the Firestone Indy Lights Series, would join Di Resta at Jerez in Spain before choosing a test and reserve driver.

"It is a very exciting time and I have to be realistic and productive over these testing days," said Di Resta, who began racing go-karts from the age of three.

"It is very difficult to predict anything. Force India are giving me a chance to drive the car and we are looking to try to bond a relationship that will work for many years to come.

"I need to build myself up to speed in the car because it's very different from what I am used to.

"I am sure the team have a lot of tests to run for next year and a lot of checks to make, so from both accounts it's going to be a big learning curve and, over the next three days, hopefully I can help them to try to achieve this goal at the end of it."

Becoming a test driver would bring Di Resta within touching distance of following fellow Euroseries graduates Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton into an F1 race car.

Hopefully, one day, I can look back and certainly achieve as much as Dario Franchitti has in his time served in racing

Paul di Resta

In September, Liuzzi stepped up from his test berth to replace Giancarlo Fisichella after Force India allowed the Italian to race the rest of the season for Ferrari.

Now Di Resta is hoping that he will soon follow his 36-year-old cousin Franchitti, whose younger brother Marino drives in the American Le Mans Series, into the worldwide spotlight.

"We are very close to Dario," said Di Resta. "Dario has done a tremendous amount in his racing career.

"Hopefully, one day, I can look back and certainly achieve as much as he has in his time served in racing.

"We have worked tremendously hard, both of our parents - my parents worked with Dario trying to achieve this.

"We have managed to achieve it on both accounts and we are very close to reaching the top also and for sure it is a racing family."

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see also
Force India retain Sutil & Liuzzi
27 Nov 09 |  Formula 1

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