A last minute driver change has seen British driver Charles Hollings replace Andy Knight as Astuti Motorsport’s second confirmed driver for this years Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship.

Originally confirmed a week ago, New Zealand driver Knight has been forced to withdraw from the Astuti seat after deciding to focus on his existing campaign in his domestic Open Wheel championship.

Hollings, 24, joins fellow Brit James Winslow in an expanded English lineup in this years Gold Star points race, both surely hoping to regain some sporting honor for their homeland after an abysmal summer for the British down under.

Hollings began his career, like many others, in karting and scored many top results in both British and European karting champions between 1989 and 1998 before stepping into race cars in 1999.

Since stepping into cars he has successfully raced Formula Ford, Formula Renault and, in 2005 and 2006, Formula 3.

In 2005 Hollings finished fifth in the British F3 Championship National Class, scoring four wins, eight pole positions and twelve podium finishes racing the likes of Salvador Duran, Aussie Barton Mawer, and 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Champion Ben Clucas.

Last year he contested the British F3 International series with Fortec Motorsport and scored a best finish of 7th place.

Hollings addition to the field looks set to – for now – complete the international invasion that is set to be a major focus in this years championship.

As the two representatives from Great Britain Hollings and Winslow (Piccola Scuderia) will race Italian Marco Mapelli (Team BRM) and Austrian Walter Grubmuller (Astuti) as well as leading Australian contenders Tim Macrow, Leanne Tander, Stuart Kostera, Mat Sofi and Chris Alajajian.

Astuti Motorsport team owner Sam Astuti was naturally pleased to secure Hollings for the championship season.

“We were disappointed to see Andy pull out because we had seen what he was capable of and we were looking forward to working with him again this year,” he said.

“But to be able to secure someone like Charlie at the last minute is fantastic for Astuti Motorsport and the series. Charles has gained a lot of Formula 3 experience over the last two years and I’m totally confident that he is going to be very hard to beat at Eastern Creek despite only confirming his participation a week out from the event.

“My original aim of an Astuti Motorsport 1 – 2 at the opening round stands firm!” Astuti said.

Hollings now rounds out a 19-car field for the opening round of the 2007 championship, up to nine cars expected to be contenders in what is set to be one of the most fiercely contested Australian Open Wheel championship in ages.

The series gets underway at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport event at Eastern Creek on February 2 – 4.