Di Resta returns to DTM with Mercposted in F121 | 01 | 2014

    BATHGATE'S PAUL DI RESTA will return to the sharp-end of racing again this season after confirming he will contest the DTM Championship in Germany with Mercedes.

    And the 27-year-old, who won the touring car championship with Mercedes in 2010, can't wait to get back in to the thick of the highly competitive racing.

    "I'm here to win races and fight for the championship," Di Resta said today as he began his first pre-season test at the Portimao Circuit in the Algarve.

    "I was the last person to win a championship here for Mercedes, and bringing the title back is one of the key reasons Mercedes has brought me here.

    "Racing is my job, but I've got to enjoy my racing, and coming back here is where I am going to enjoy it most.

    "I've not stood on the podium for three years, although I was close a few times in F1. Now I've got the challenge of being back in DTM and winning races with a frontline team again."

    Di Resta, controversially dumped by Force India's F1 team at the end of last season after it opted to accept the multi-million pound sponsorship package brought by Sergio Perez, couldn't hide his excitement at being back in a front-running car in surrounding he know and is blatantly comfortable with.

    Related: Di Resta clinches 2010 DTM Championship

    “It feels really good to be back in the DTM and to see so many familiar faces again," the Scot continued.

    "The DTM is a fantastic racing series with three strong premium brands, a very competitive field and a very evenly matched bunch of drivers.

    "I’m really looking forward to working with the whole Mercedes-Benz DTM team and being part of another championship challenge.

    "Much has changed since my last DTM race in Shanghai in 2010 with new cars, a new set of rules and a third manufacturer, but what has not changed is my enormous appetite for success.

    "Mercedes-Benz has given me a car that I can use to fight for wins and the title. However, I realise that it will not be easy.

    "My competitors already have two years of experience with the new generation of vehicles, but, starting with today’s first test, I’ll be going flat out in order to be capable of winning at the Hockenheim season opener in early May.”

    Related: Di Resta closes in on DTM return

    And the Scot, who will again partner his close friend Gary Paffett at Mercedes, was welcomed by Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff.

    “Paul has been a member of the Mercedes-Benz family for many years, and we are delighted that he is returning to the fold this season to further strengthen our DTM squad," Wolff said.

    "Paul has learned a lot during the past few years in Formula 1, and, together with Gary Paffett we now have two experienced drivers in our team, who have already won the DTM title with Mercedes-Benz and can put their knowledge to good use on the track, whilst passing on hints and tips to our Mercedes juniors.”

    The 10-race DTM Championship season gets underway with the traditional season-opener at Hockenheim on May 4.

    Di Resta's return to the German championship coincides with Mercedes celebrating 120 years of motor racing this year, 80 years of the Silver Arrows, 30 years DTM.

    Di Resta's relationship with Mercedes goes back to 2000 when he won the McLaren Mercedes Champions of the Future Kart series. Four years later he was a Mercedes-Benz junior.

    In 2005, he moved to the Formula 3 Euro Series, and won in a Mercedes-Benz Formula 3 engine in his second season, outdoing four-time F1 world championship title holder, Sebastian Vettel.

    During his previous spell in the DTM, Di Resta completed 42 races, notching six race wins, six poles, seven fastest laps and stood on the podium on 21 occasions.

    Related: Di Resta races into the unknown

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    Jim McGill


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