Edited from a releaseThe Hong Kong Derby (HK-I), the premier event on that country's racing calendar, will now become the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby. The race is scheduled for March 21 at the Sha Tin Racecourse.Mercedes-Benz will sponsor the annual Hong Kong classic for an initial period of three years, following an agreement between Mercedes-Benz China Limited and the Hong Kong Jockey Club. The illustrious horse race, first run in 1873, has previously never been sponsored."Mercedes-Benz is proud to have our name associated with such a premium race, one that has managed to capture the passion and imagination of Hong Kong since the 19th century," says Mrs. Jutta Aulich, general manager, sales & marketing, passenger vehicles division, Mercedes-Benz China. "Mercedes-Benz and the Hong Kong Derby, two of the most enduring and esteemed brands have come together, and that is worth celebrating." Mrs. Aulich said further, "For Mercedes-Benz, sports sponsorship is one of the primary means of building relationships, of bonding with our exclusive retailer, Zung Fu Company Ltd., our customers, and communities."The Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby is an international social occasion as well as a premium sporting event. It also features one of the world's richest derby purses. The race, worth HK$14 million, brings together the finest 4-year-old Thoroughbreds in Hong Kong over a 2000-metre distance (about 10 furlongs). The winner claims HK$8.1 million, with the balance of prize money on offer to the next five finishers. "It will be an ideal long-term partnership," says Winfred Engelbrecht-Bresges, executive director, racing, for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, "as Mercedes-Benz and the Hong Kong Derby are products of the highest class, with a great degree of prestige associated."One of the event's most important lead-up races will be named the 'Mercedes-Benz Classic Mile.' This much-anticipated race is set for Feb. 15 at Sha Tin Racecourse.In addition to supporting motoring sports, Mercedes-Benz has also been a long-time sponsor of various international and regional sports events, including prominent golf, tennis and rugby tournaments.Its parent company, DaimlerChrysler, has established the Laureus World Sports Awards, dedicated to honoring outstanding athletes across all disciplines, while playing a leading role in supporting social sports projects worldwide.Established in 1986 and based in Hong Kong, Mercedes-Benz China Limited (MBCL) is the wholly owned subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler AG and the franchise-holder for all imported passenger vehicle products under the Mercedes Car Group (MCG) in China, Hong Kong and Macau. The Group includes the Mercedes-Benz passenger car, smart brands and the legendary Maybach, along with sub-brands Mercedes-Benz AMG and Mercedes-Benz McLaren.Additional information and news of the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby is available at the HKJC website: www.hongkongjockeyclub.com/english.