Finn to race against old F1 rivals in DTM

Finn to race against old Fl rivals in DTV

Mika Hakkinen will return to racing in Germany's DTM touring car series in 2005, a deal that ends talk of a Formula One comeback.

The 36-year-old, who won backto-back world titles with McLaren in 1998 and '99, is likely to form a Mercedes AMG 'dream team' with his old Fl rival Jean Alesi in the high-profile tin-top series.

The Finn spent two days testing one of Mercedes' C-class 'silhouette' racers at the Lausitzring's road course in October. It marked his second drive in a DTM Merc following a public relations run at Brno in the Czech Republic in 2001.

"At the end of my Fl career I soon realised that I'm not ready to retire for good," Hakkinen said. "It was exactly the right moment that Mercedes offered me a DTM test. I saw immediately that I still enjoy racing and during the test my lap times were at the same level as those of the touring car specialists.

"I look forward to an interesting season with exciting battles — against my former Fl colleagues as well as against the young DTM drivers."

Along with Alesi, Hakkinen will come up against another old Fl rival: Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who is signed to Opel.

Hakkinen had been linked to an Fl return with Williams following BAR'S victory in a contract dispute over the services ofJenson Button.