Realisation of a dream as Enge makes F1 debut

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The Prost driver Tomas Enge will become the first Czech driver to participate in a Formula One race when he turns out at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza on Sunday.

Enge replaces the Brazilian Luciano Burti who sustained head injuries in a crash at the Belgian Grand Prix on 2 September. The 25-year-old Enge recently signed a deal to test with Prost until the end of the season. He completed 63 laps of the Magny-Cours circuit in France last week, impressing with a finish less than one second off the pace set by Colombia's Juan Pablo Montoya.

Burti, 26, crashed head-on into a tyre barrier at the Blanchimont corner of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit after clipping the corner of Eddie Irvine's Jaguar. He has been released from the Liege hospital and was due to return to his Monaco home yesterday.

"I will be the only person who knows when I should be back in a Formula One car," Burti said. "I'll be back racing and if I have a competitive car I'll show the world what Luciano Burti is made of."

Team president Alain Prost said he understood Burti's decision to wait a little longer before returning to the circuit. "I hope to welcome him back in the very near future, even if at the moment we still do not know how long it is going to be," Prost said. "It is a fantastic opportunity to have Tomas racing with us. He showed how quick, reliable and professional he is."

For Enge, it's a dream come true. "Ten years ago the situation in the Czech Republic kept us a million miles away from this level of motor racing," he said. "Today I am happy and proud to be the first Czech driver in Formula One."

Meanwhile, British American Racing (BAR) will launch their 2002 Formula One car in December. The team principal Craig Pollock attending the opening of a car factory built by engine suppliers Honda, said the car would be ready to hit the track as soon as the official ban on testing ended on 1 January.

The ban on testing from the last race of the 2001 season, on 14 October, until the end of December has forced teams to speed up work on the new cars.