Sebastien Ogier will make a surprise debut outing in DTM with Mercedes next month at the Red Bull Ring.

The five-time and reigning World Rally Champion is looking ‘to broaden my racing horizons’ in racing and is thrilled to secure the one-off opportunity with Mercedes for the penultimate round of the 2018 DTM championship.

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Last year Ogier tested with the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team at the Spielberg circuit, and is backed by the energy drinks company, while the DTM entry marks his first non-rally competition since taking part in two Porsche Supercup races back in 2013 and 2014.

“This is a very exciting experience,” Ogier said. “The DTM is something completely new for me, but I'm trying to learn as much as possible with each lap.

“I see it as an opportunity to broaden my racing horizons and gain more experience. Up to now, I haven't driven much on permanent racetracks - only a couple of times in a GT car. A DTM car is obviously faster. Of course, you can't expect to be competitive as a guest starter right away.

“I'm expecting a difficult first weekend at Spielberg, where my target will be to keep up with the other drivers as much as is possible.”

Ogier is spending the next two days (August 7-8) testing a Mercedes DTM car at Italian circuit Vallelunga as preparation for the Red Bull Ring round on September 21-23.

“Sebastien is a real racing driver. He has demonstrated his ability more times than enough all over the world on gravel and tarmac by winning five world rally championships," Ulrich Fritz, Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM, said. "So it comes as no big surprise to me that he would now like to tame a DTM car.

“He will be making his DTM debut on a proper race circuit at Spielberg, and I know for sure that he and his fans will have a lot of fun as he does so.

“It's also very apparent that it will be no walk in the park for Sebastien as a guest starter in such a hotly contested field. Still, that's what drives a champion like him to put on a good show for the fans.”

Ogier is currently second in the 2018 WRC drivers’ championship, 21 points behind leader Thierry Neuville, having continued his title-winning run last season while switching from Volkswagen to M-Sport Ford after the German manufacturer dropped out of the series.

After the French driver's DTM test he will return to WRC action for Rallye Deutschland (August 16-19) and Rally of Turkey (September 13-16).

Mercedes is set to leave DTM at the end of the current championship despite leading the drivers’ standings with Gary Paffett first and Paul di Resta second, heading up the teams’ championship with a 1-2 of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Petronas leading and Silberpfeil Engergy Mercedes in second plus a healthy lead in the manufacturers’ standings over Audi and BMW.

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