The German driver was forced to cancel his participation because of sickness. He is expected to recover in time for the next race meeting at Shanghai.
A former champion in the Asian Touring Car Series, the 37-year old from Kyogo Kano has never missed a WTCC event in Japan.
From 2008 onwards he has taken part at the wheel of Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s BMW cars. This is the second time, after 2011, that he will drive the 1.6-litre 320 TC.
Elsewhere, Hiroki Yoshimoto will replace Michel Nykjær in the Nika Racing Chevrolet Cruze for the events in Suzuka and Macau.
The Swedish team ended their cooperation with the Danish after a successful series of events that resulted in three race victories, third position in the Drivers’ Championship and the co-leadership in the Yokohama Trophy.
“We are obviously disappointed not to be able to complete the season with Michel, but we’ve already achieved great things together this season, which was meant to be a pure learning year," said team manager Nicklas Karlsson.
"While the competitive side of me would have preferred to carry on with Michel and continue fighting for second in the Drivers’ Championship, it’s also my responsibility to ensure a long-term future for the team.
"We don’t close any doors for the future, however, and Michel proved that he’s a first-rate driver on the international touring car arena,”
Yoshimoto, 33-year old from Osaka, who is currently leading the class ST3 of the Super Taikyu series, has already made occasional appearances in WTCC, driving a SEAT León at Suzuka in 2011 and 2012. He will drive for Nika Racing also in the final event at Macau.
- Sports & Recreation
- Motor Racing
- Michel Nykjær
- Hiroki Yoshimoto