Stefano D'Aste will return to the World Touring Car Championship from the next round of the season at Porto after replacing Urs Sonderegger at the Wiechers-Sport team.
Sonderegger made his WTCC debut with Wiechers at the second round of the season at Zolder, but the Swiss driver has now split with the German team after struggling to be competitive.
“My personal life very important and to be on the pace with the professional drivers of WTCC I would be forced to invest a lot of time in testing and give up on a lot of things in my life,” he said. “I was really happy to start in WTCC but now I’m happy to stop.”
D'Aste will return for his third spell with the team. He first raced for them in 2007, winning the Independents' Trophy. He returned to Proteam for 2008, before racing for Wiechers again in 2009. He would return to Proteam again for 2010, before being left on the sidelines at the beginning of 2010.
“I am over the moon,” said D'Aste. “I feel honoured for receiving this call from Wiechers-Sport and extremely excited to return to WTCC. I love Porto, because is a very demanding track, though I am aware that racing there without having tested the car will be tough.
“I’m also eager to drive the BMW 320 TC. I have heard good things about it and I was impressed by looking at the engine data when I visited the team a few days ago.”
Team manager Dominik Greiner said: “Urs is a nice person and a good friend. He understood that he needed more testing to reduce the gap, but he is a very busy man. We are happy to have Stefano back in the family and our German fans can rejoice as we will arrive at our home races at Oschersleben with a lot of motivations and expectations.”