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MOTOR RACING: BULL'S AYE; Coulthard agrees new contract with Red team for 2006.

Byline: By Frank Haynes

DAVID COULTHARD is staying with Red Bull Racing after clinching an extension to his current deal.

He signed up for the new team on a one-year contract this season and a series of impressive performances, which have earned him 17 points, have secured an additional 12 months.

Yesterday's announcement ended speculation Coulthard, who was previously with Williams and McLaren, could be set for a move to BAR-Honda.

The Scot revealed he was impressed with Red Bull's preparations for next season, when they will benefit from Ferrari engines.

He said: 'It has been a very positive new experience working with Red Bull Racing.

'The potential of the team is obvious and it made perfect sense to continue our partnership.

'Since I started with the team last December, the progress made has been remarkable.

'I'm looking forward to contributing to the development of the 2006 car with the Ferrari engine and enjoying continued success with Red Bull Racing.'

Coulthard has been partnered by Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi this season as part of Red Bull's driver rotation policy.

Team owner Dietrich Mateschitz suggested earlier in the campaign that Coulthard would be eased aside to make way for a Liuzzi-Klien partnership but yesterday's news confirms he has had a change of heart.

Christian Horner, Red Bull's sporting director, said: 'David has clearly demonstrated he is still one of the top drivers in Formula One.

'He has played a vital part in Red Bull Racing's on-track credibility so far this season. It was therefore a very easy and natural decision to extend our agreement for 2006 and retain him as our lead driver.'

Red Bull have made remarkable progress since their last-minute deal to buy Jaguar Racing.

Under Horner's leadership, they have surpassed Jaguar's best-ever points tally and seen Coulthard fight for unlikely podium finishes.

The Scot was brought in to add Formula One experience to the new outfit and he believes he is part of a team with genuine potential.

He said: 'We are still going through the process of trying to do the best we can with this car and trying to build towards next year

CAPTION(S):

KEEPING THEIR GRIP: Coulthard and Red Bull Racing's Christian Horner shake hands on the new deal and, left, the Scots driver in action
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 6, 2005
Words:383
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