Rickard Rydell is to make a one-off return to the World Touring Car Championship in Shanghai after inking a deal to join NIKA Racing.
The Swede will drive the team's Chevrolet Cruze in the Chinese event in place of Hiroki Yoshimoto, who is unavailable for the weekend but will return to the car for the season finale in Macau.
Rydell – who has raced for the team in the STCC in the past - has taken five wins during his time in the WTCC with SEAT and Chevrolet and will aim to score points in what is his first race outing of the year.
“It will be great to return to the WTCC, and to work with NIKA Racing again following two successful seasons together back home in Sweden,” he said. “I basically haven't sat in a racing car since the STCC finale in 2012, and I've never driven at Shanghai – so I'm well-aware that this is going to be a big challenge.
“For that same reason, it will be of extra importance to do this with a team I know well, and in a car I'm familiar with from previous seasons. It's difficult to know what to expect, but we at least have to aim for some strong points in both races. I will do everything I possibly can, and I truly look forward to getting back on track!”
Team principal Nicklas Karlsson said he was delighted to bring his former driver back into the fold.
“We are extremely pleased, and proud, to resume our ties with Rickard,” he said. “He gave us our first championship title in 2011, and our two years together in the STCC effectively laid the foundations for our current WTCC programme. Rickard hasn't raced at all this season, but we are more than aware of his capabilities. He is up to the challenge.”