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Ex-F1 driver Vitaly Petrov tests Mercedes DTM car

Vitaly Petrov, Mercedes DTM testEx-Formula 1 driver Vitaly Petrov has been given a DTM test by Mercedes.

The Russian sampled DTM machinery in promotional events around the series' first Moscow date last summer, but Thursday's test at the Algarve track in Portugal will be his first fully-fledged outing.

"This test is a great opportunity to get back in the cockpit of a high-performance racing car," said Petrov.

"I got my first impression of the DTM last year when I drove in the Moscow City Racing event and took the wheel of a DTM taxi for Mercedes-Benz at Moscow Raceway during the DTM race weekend.

"I had never driven such a car before and the demo laps were fantastic fun.

"I've been especially impressed by the way the DTM Mercedes AMG C-coupe handles in the corners."

Petrov has not raced since losing his Caterham F1 seat at the end of 2012.

He spent three seasons in F1 with Renault/Lotus and Caterham, taking a podium in the 2011 Australian Grand Prix.

Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff said Petrov's test reflected the DTM's rising profile in Russia.

"Russia is a highly significant market for the DTM and for Mercedes-Benz," he said.

"Following the success of the DTM debut at the Moscow Raceway last year, the interest of Russian fans in the series has grown considerably.

"Vitaly has been aware of these developments and expressed a desire to test drive our car. We were only too happy to make his wish possible."

Mercedes is rumoured to be expanding its DTM line-up from the six cars it ran last season.

It announced on Tuesday that it had signed F1 refugee Paul di Resta, who won the DTM title with Mercedes in 2010.

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