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Schneider to retire after Hockenheim

Bernd SchneiderBernd Schneider will retire from racing after this weekend's DTM season finale at Hockenheim.

The 44-year-old Mercedes stalwart has won five DTM championships with the marque as well as one International Touring Car and one FIA GT crown. He also started nine grands prix between 1988 and 1990 for Zakspeed and Footwork.

His retirement at the end of the season has been rumoured since half way through the year when he won the race at the Nurburgring in July, but Mercedes finally confirmed today that he will no return to racing in 2009. Although he will stay on with the manufacturer as an ambassador.

"I've been active as a racing driver for more than 30 years and my aim has always been to continue racing for as long as I enjoy the sport and am still able to remain competitive," said Schneider. "The time to leave has now come and it gives rise to conflicting emotions.

"On one hand I'm sorry to be saying goodbye to the many friends I have made in motorsport, above all in the AMG, HWA and Mercedes-Benz teams. But on the other hand I'm looking forward to facing my exciting new challenges."

Schneider will work as a brand ambassador, instructor and test driver for Mercedes at the AMG Driving Academy.

"I see my decision to work for AMG following my career as an active racing driver as absolutely logical," said Schneider. "I was able to celebrate most of my victories in the AMG Mercedes team and now I'm looking forward to the new challenge."

Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug added: "Bernd and Mercedes were partners on the track for 17 years - one of the longest and most successful partnerships between a driver and a brand in the motor racing world. Mercedes-Benz has much to thank Bernd for and he has put his stamp on the DTM like no other driver.

"He is also an example to many young drivers but for me he is also a friend, and one I will miss behind the wheel when there are races to be won."

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