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Wehrlein and di Resta return to DTM

NEWS STORY
07/02/2018

Having failed to find an F1 berth for 2018, Pascal Wehrlein and Paul di Resta are both heading back to DTM as Mercedes prepares for its 'swan-song' in the legendary German touring car series.

Both are DTM champions, di Resta taking the title in 2010 and Wehrlein in 2015, both with Mercedes.

While the Scot was involved in a shoot-out with Robert Kubica for the Williams seat which eventually went to Sergey Sirotkin, though linked with the Grove outfit Wehrlein too found himself out of a job come season end.

Though he out-classed Sauber teammate Marcus Ericsson throughout 2017 and scored the Swiss outfit's only points, the closer ties to Ferrari and rumours of a poor attitude meant Wehrlein's options - even though he is highly rated by Toto Wolff - were limited

Mercedes announced Gary Paffett, di Resta, Lucas Auer and Edoardo Mortara as four of its six drivers this morning, saying that the identities of the two remaining drivers would be announced soon. However, shortly after the German manufacturer took to Twitter to reveal that Wehrlein would be rejoining its squad.

"We intend to work together in pursuit of a common goal in order to bring a positive conclusion to the final chapter of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport's involvement in the DTM which goes back 30 years," said Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Ulrich Fritz.

"I've got some terrific memories of the DTM," said Wehrlein, "not least because of my title win in 2015, but also because of the strong team spirit and the many amazing experiences I've had with the guys.

"I've followed the DTM closely during my time in Formula 1 and have even been to a couple of races to see the team and support them. A lot has changed in the DTM since my last race in the DTM season finale at Hockenheim back in 2015, but I like a challenge and can hardly wait to try out our new car on track for the first time. The first tests can't come soon enough for me."

"Fresh challenges, fresh opportunities. I'm really excited about the new season," added di Resta, who will be starting his ninth DTM season with the team. "It's a little bit sad to think that this will be the end of an era for Mercedes in the DTM, but everyone in the team is showing that little bit of extra commitment, keen to end this final chapter on a positive note. I've been a part of things for four years now and really love the brand, so I hope that my fellow team members and I can deliver the best possible results this year."

Prior to joining F1, Wehrlein secured three wins and took six podium finishes from 38 DTM races between 2013 and 2015.

"Pascal quickly established himself in the DTM and became the youngest-ever champion in the history of the series in 2015," said Fritz. "Of course, everyone in the team is really pleased that he's returning to the DTM for our final year. He made many close friends within the squad and stayed in touch even when he was driving in Formula 1. A lot has changed in the DTM in recent years, for sure, with new cars, new tyres and new rules, but we're confident that he'll soon settle back in with his experience and commitment."

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1. Posted by Anthony, 07/02/2018 17:44

"I suspect that this is the swansong of Paul’s career but hopefully this will give Pascal a chance to show what he is made of and get back into top level motorsport. "

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