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JANUARY 14, 2001

McNish confident of Toyota race drive

SCOT Allan McNish said on Sunday that he is confident of securing a race drive with Formula One new-boys Toyota in 2002.

McNish, who secured the American Le Mans Series drivers' title in Adelaide last month, insisted he is aiming for a future place on the F1 grid as he tests for the Japanese team this season.

"I'm going to make sure that I give 100 per cent to testing this year," McNish said. "There is a seat on the grid at the end of it if everything goes to plan.

"I've tested for McLaren and Benetton before so I know what it's like to drive a Formula One car. My desire is purely and simply to race in F1 and Toyota knows that."

McNish, 31, will share testing duties with Finnish driver Mika Salo, who was an impressive replacement for the injured Michael Schumacher at Ferrari in 1999.

But despite Salo's credentials, McNish is confident he can prove his ability to Toyota bosses this year.

"I've got a very good benchmark with Mika because of how well he did with Ferrari and with Sauber," McNish said. "I've fared well against him before and I'm sure that I can do it again."