Engel returns to DTM with Mercedes for 2017, set to miss two FE rounds

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Maro Engel will return to DTM in 2017 with Mercedes after being named as part of its trimmed down line-up for the new season.

Mercedes, Audi and BMW agreed to reduce their entries from eight to six drivers for 2017, with the new season due to begin at Hockenheim on May 7.

Engel raced for Mercedes in DTM between 2008 and 2011, and has remained a factory driver for the German marque since leaving the series, tasting victory at the Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2016.

Engel will race alongside Gary Paffett, Lucas Auer, Paul di Resta, Robert Wickens and Edoardo Mortara in DTM this year for Mercedes, with Felix Rosenqvist, Maximillian Götz, Daniel Juncadella and Christian Vietoris losing their seats.

“I definitely have some unfinished business with the DTM,” Engel said. “I am very pleased to that I’ve been able to battle my way back into the squad over the past few years and that I now have a chance to prove myself in the coming season.

“I have fantastic teammates who I’ve obviously known for a long time. That’s why I’m sure I won’t have any problems settling in.”

Engel is also signed up to race in Formula E during its third season with Venturi, but NBC Sports understands that the German will miss races in Paris and Brussels due to clashing DTM commitments.

Audi’s Loic Duval is in a similar position, racing for Faraday Future Dragon Racing in Formula E, and could also join Engel in dropping out of two rounds of the all-electric series.

Rosenqvist had been facing a similar dilemma heading into 2017, but the ex-Indy Lights racer confirmed in a statement that Formula E was his priority this year.

“I really enjoyed racing in the DTM with Mercedes last year, and I learned a lot about how to deal with the pressure that comes with representing a top-line manufacturer,” Rosenqvist said.

“It’s a fantastic championship, but at the end of the day it just wasn’t possible to combine it with Formula E this year, which is obviously a shame.

“I’ve had a strong start to the season with Mahindra; I’m currently fourth in the standings and we’ve been putting a lot of effort into the development of our package.

“It’s impossible to say how we’ll fare now that we get to circuits that the others know, but we are in a good position and we’re working flat out to try and get our first win. That requires my full attention at the moment.”