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Wehrlein set to make DTM return in 2018

Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber F1 Team.
© XPB 

Pascal Wehrlein has been tipped to return to the DTM series this year after finding himself without a Formula 1 ride for 2018.

The talented German driver scored all of Sauber's championship points last year. It was his sophomore season in Formula 1, having spent 2016 racing for Manor.

However the Swiss squad decided let him go at the end of 2017. The Ferrari-affiliated team opted instead for Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc.

Mercedes has already said that it will find a place for its young protégé. Last month, team boss Toto Wolff said they would be offering the 23-year-old a role as test driver.

Wolff added that the idea was to keep Wehrlein sharp and "to keep his door open to Formula 1 for 2019."

There's no better way to keep race-ready than to go racing. And now it appears that he will do just that - by returning to the DTM championship that he won in 2015.

An spot has opened up in the Mercedes DTM squad with news that Maro Engel is pulling out of the series in order to focus on Formula E.

"I would love to be lining up again in the DTM," Engel explained. "Especially as it's Mercedes-AMG's final year in the series,"

“It's a pity that the Formula E and the DTM racing calendars overlap to some extent this season,” he continued. "Unfortunately, there's no easy solution.

“With an eye to the future, though, we decided that I would concentrate fully on Formula E and GT racing in 2018."

The 32-year-old said he had settled his one outstanding score with DTM by securing a maiden race win last year in Moscow.

Engel is the second Mercedes driver to drop out of DTM. Robert Wickens has also opted depart and will switch to IndyCar with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Engel's Venturi team mate in Formula E, Edoardo Mortara, is expected to continue competing in DTM this season.

Wehrlein isn't the only driver in the running to take over from Engel. Daniel Juncadella and Maximilian Gunther are believed to be in contention for a spot in Mercedes' six-car line-up.

The marque is leaving DTM at the end of 2018. Like Engel, it has decided to refocus its efforts on Formula E as a works team in the future.

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