DTM

Mercedes confirm Kaneishi for Persson

Katsutomo Kaneishi to Drive Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM Japanese Katsutomo Kaneishi will start in the 2003 DTM with a Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM of the Persson-Team, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport announced today. On the occasion of the DTM presentation on 9...

Katsutomo Kaneishi to Drive Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM

Japanese Katsutomo Kaneishi will start in the 2003 DTM with a Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM of the Persson-Team, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport announced today. On the occasion of the DTM presentation on 9 April at the Europa-Park Rust near Freiburg, he will be introduced to the media and the public, alongside with the other drivers of Mercedes-Benz, Abt-Audi and Opel.

The 2003 DTM will begin on 27 April at Hockenheim. Three-times DTM champion and 2002 runner-up Bernd Schneider (38) as well as Christijan Albers (23), Jean Alesi (38), Uwe Alzen (35), Marcel Fässler (26), Thomas Jäger (26), Bernd Mayländer (31) and Stefan Mücke (21) form the experienced and well known 2003 Mercedes-Benz driver line-up together with Kaneishi.

Katsutomo Kaneishi was born on 21 November 1968 at Osaka. In 1980, he started his career with Kart racing. After finishing fourth overall in the 1989 Japanese Formula 3 Championship he changed to the Japanese Formula 3000 Championship, today's Formula Nippon, and the Japanese GT500 Championship, in which he achieved the runner-up position in 2001.

Kaneishi's name has a good reputation in Germany's motor sport. Katsutomo's cousin Toshihiro Kaneishi won the 2001 German Formula 3 Championship.

Katsutomo Kaneishi ist supported by ARTA (Autobacs Racing Team Aguri), a programme launched by former Grand Prix driver Aguri Suzuki to promote Japanese drivers. At Suzuka in 1996, Suzuki drove one race of the International Touring Car Championship ITC in an AMG-Mercedes C-Class; the series had succeeded the former DTM.

"Aguri always told about this series very enthusiastically, and this was one of the reasons why I wanted to participate in the DTM," said Kaneishi. "This is the series of the best touring car drivers in the world, and therefore it also has a high reputation in Japan. I'm happy to be part of the Mercedes-Benz team and I'll work hard to perform well in this highly competitive championship."

Kaneishi will drive a 2002 model of the Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM which will be backed by Autobacs. This company is the world's biggest supplier of car accessories with 500 dealerships in the Asian market. In France, they are represented with two subsidiaries. During the DTM test days at the Adria International Raceway near Venice, Italy, Kaneishi made first contact with his new orange-coloured car.

Norbert Haug, Vice President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, commented: "Katsutomo Kaneishi gained experience in the Japanese Formula Nippon and GT Championship. Of course he will need some time to get used to the DTM, however we look forward to have Katsutomo with us, and so do the many Japanese DTM fans."

-mercedes-

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Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Bernd Schneider , Bernd Maylander , Uwe Alzen , Christijan Albers , Norbert Haug , Thomas Jäger , Toshihiro Kaneishi , Aguri Suzuki , Kaneishi Katsutomo , Stefan Mücke