Former Formula 1 driver Giedo van der Garde will miss this weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship race at Monza after testing positive for COVID-19.
He will be replaced at the Racing Team Nederland LMP2 squad by Paul-Loup Chatin, a regular in the European Le Mans Series and the Le Mans 24 Hours with IDEC Sport.
Chatin last competed in a WEC race outside Le Mans in 2016, when he replaced fellow French driver Nelson Panciatici for the final three rounds of the season alongside Ho-Pin Tung and David Cheng at the DC Racing Alpine squad.
This is the second change to RTN’s driver line-up for the Italian round of the WEC, which serves as the final preparatory round for Le Mans, after Job van Uitert also returned a positive COVID-19 test ahead of last weekend’s ELMS race at the same venue.
RTN had previously announced that Mercedes Formula E driver Nyck de Vries would take van Uitert’s place in the #29 Oreca, having previously been part of the team during the 2019/20 season.
Van der Garde’s absence leaves team owner Frits van Eerd as the only driver from RTN’s original driving trio to remain for the Monza race.
Van der Garde said he was surprised to have tested positive for coronavirus, having received both doses of the vaccine and not attended any public event in the run-up to the race.
“Deal all, I’m absolutely gutted to say that I can’t drive in Monza this weekend because I have tested positive for COVID,” said the Dutchman in a statement on Twitter.
“It’s an absolute mystery to me, since I’m fully vaccinated and working my way towards the race – haven’t been to any social gatherings. That’s irrelevant for now though [as] I can’t race.
“The guys have found great replacement in Paul Chatin and I wish him, Frits, Nyck and the rest of Racing Team Nederland all the best for the race.”
RTN is competing in WEC’s new LMP2 Pro/Am subclass due to van Eerd’s bronze driver status and currently sits second in that classification behind Realteam Racing.
It finished fourth in LMP2 and first of the Pro/Am runners in the season opener at Spa, before finishing 10th at Portimao last month.