Together with Louis Deletraz and Ahmad Al Harthy, Mazepin has won two of the first three four-hour contests in the five-race calendar, including last weekend in Dubai.

The results mean his 99 Racing outfit currently leads the LMP2 standings and the race for a guaranteed entry into the Le Mans 24 Hours that is afforded to the Asian LMS champions in the P2 and GT divisions.

But ahead of the final two races at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday and Sunday, it was revealed that the 24-year-old would have to step aside, with Deletraz’s WTR-Andretti Acura team-mate in the IMSA SportsCar Championship Albuquerque taking his place.

“Nikita reported ill early on Wednesday morning and was so instructed to stay away from the circuit while the team continued their preparations,” 99 Racing program manager Dan Hodder said.

“Later on, during the evening, it was confirmed that Nikita may not be able to take part in the weekend’s schedule.

“During this time, 99 reached out to Filipe Albuquerque, who was known to be present at the circuit.

“Due to a host of goodwill and support, we are pleased to announce that Filipe will cover Nikita.

#99 99 Racing Oreca 07 – Gibson: Al Harty Ahmad, Nikita Mazepin, Louis Deletraz

Photo by: Asian Le Mans Series

“We wish Nikita a speedy recovery and will now concentrate on the upcoming sessions leading into the weekend.”

After taking victory in the opening round at Sepang, which was shortened due to heavy rain in the closing stages, 99 Racing finished second in the second leg of the Malaysian double-header before their triumph in Dubai opened up a 20-point lead in the standings over Algarve Pro Racing trio Malthe Jakobsen, Colin Braun and George Kurtz.

Mazepin spent the 2021 F1 season racing for Haas, starting 21 races with a best finish of 14th in Baku.

He was replaced on the eve of the 2022 season by Kevin Magnussen following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but returned to competition in 2023 in the Asian LMS with the 99 team.


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