Stuttgart - Vitaly Petrov (29, Russia) is again writing Russian motor racing history: In the upcoming DTM season, Russia's first Formula 1 driver will also become the country's first Russian DTM driver, as was announced by the 29-year-old Russian and Mercedes-Benz on February 28th 2014 at a press conference held in the headquarters of Russian state television channel, Russia 2.
Petrov will make his race debut at the wheel of a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé at the DTM season opener on May 4th in Hockenheim. Exactly 100 days before his first DTM race, the former Formula 1 driver on January 23th tested a DTM car with Mercedes-Benz for the first time in Portimão, Portugal. Last year, Petrov drove a Mercedes-Benz DTM race taxi at the Moscow City Race around Red Square and at the DTM premiere at the Moscow Raceway.
Petrov finished the 2009 season in second place in the GP2 standings and moved up in the following year to compete in Formula 1, where he contested 57 grands prix for Renault, Lotus Renault GP and Caterham. Between 2010 and 2012, Petrov secured a total of 64 championship points and clinched third place on the podium at the 2011 season opener in Melbourne.
"The DTM is a great racing series and I'm very happy that Mercedes-Benz are giving me the chance to compete against the world's best touring car drivers in the DTM. I'm aware that I've got a steep learning curve ahead of me, but I love a challenge and accept it gladly. At my first test in Portimão, I was able to make my first acquaintance with the team and get a feel for the car, which is very important for me in order to play to my strengths. Motor racing is becoming ever more popular in Russia - last year, the DTM debuted at the Moscow Raceway and Sochi will host Formula 1 for the first time this year. I am certain that we will see many more Russian racing drivers in various series in the future and I hope that I can do my part in the DTM to make our sport more popular in my home country. "
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
"Vitaly had a successful test in our DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupe at Portimão and I'm sure that he will be valuable member of our team. Vitaly is a great sportsman and representative of his country, who has already demonstrated his ability by achieving, among other things, a podium finish in Formula 1. He will also be a great asset for Mercedes-Benz, especially in the Russian market. I am looking forward to see how things will develop within DTM."
Jan Madeja, Mercedes-Benz Russia:
"Mercedes -Benz is the fastest growing premium brand in Russia. Our car sales in Russia have increased more than tenfold over the past ten years, and interest in the DTM is increasing all the time in our country, which is one of the top ten best markets for Mercedes-Benz cars. For this reason, I am very pleased that we have been able to secure another well-known ambassador for our brand with Vitaly. He will represent the DTM and Mercedes-Benz very well in Russia and help to further increase awareness and strengthen our leading position among the German premium manufacturers in our country."
Source: Daimler AG