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Andretti Green Racing Signs Franck Montagny UPDATE A reader asks, I saw this SPEEDTV.com article which pans the Andretti Green team for running their ALMS team as an afterthought.  What gives?  Ted Danford

Dear Ted, The AGR team started that team at the request of Honda to help them get their Acura brand name out there via the ALMS.  They had early success winning the 12 Hours of Sebring on their first try, but after that it's been slim pickings.  AGR is an open wheel racing team first and foremost and if not for the Honda money behind it, rest assured they would not be running a sports car program.  Mark C.

06/26/08 Andretti Green Racing (AGR) announced today it has signed Franck Montagny to become the primary driver of the #26 XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-01b for the remainder of the 2008 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season, beginning with the next tour stop at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Ct.

Bryan Herta and Christian Fittipaldi handled the driving duties for Andretti Green in the four previous ALMS starts this season along with Marco Andretti, who rounded out the AGR lineup in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

A variety of drivers will team with Montagny during the final seven ALMS events of 2008 beginning with Marco Andretti, who drives one of Andretti Green's four IndyCar Series machines. Andretti will qualify for the IndyCar Series event on July 11 at Nashville Superspeedway and then travel to Lime Rock for the July 12th running of the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix. Following the ALMS event, he will return to Nashville for the Firestone Indy 200 later that night.

Montagny brings a diverse background to AGR that includes seven Formula 1 starts, all in 2006 with Super Aguri, and stints as a Formula 1 test driver and third driver with Renault, Jordan and Toyota. The 30-year old Frenchman owns three top-five finishes in his last three starts in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, including a third-place overall finish earlier this month.

Montagny ran four races for his native France during the 2007-08 A1 Grand Prix (A1GP) season, scoring one top-five finish and helping his team to a fourth-place final ranking. He also has one IndyCar Series start to his credit, having made his debut at Long Beach this past April where he scored a runner-up finish.

Franck Montagny, #26 XM Satellite Radio Acura:
"I'm very excited to join Andretti Green Racing and the XM Acura program. I am looking forward to working with the team in the very near future and hoping to get off to a good start at Lime Rock. I know how competitive the American Le Mans Series is and know how challenging this will be, but I believe I am ready for it. I am eager to get started."

Michael Andretti, co-owner, Andretti Green Racing:
"We're looking forward to seeing what Franck can do in the XM Acura. He's got a lot of experience in different types of cars, including prototypes, and that should help him adjust pretty quickly to what we're doing here.

"Making a change in the middle of the season isn't something you enjoy, and I think it's even tougher in this case because we're talking about Bryan and Christian. Bryan has done everything we've ever asked him to do since he joined Andretti Green in 2003, including helping us win the 12 Hours of Sebring in our first ALMS start last year. Christian joined us this year and wanted to win as badly as we did. We will always appreciate the effort that both Bryan and Christian gave to the team."
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