Mehdi Bennani and the Sébastien Loeb Racing back into Top 10

This weekend ends on a positive note for the Sébastien Loeb Racing at the Slovakia Racing.

After a difficult weekend at the Moscow Raceway and before taking part in the French round of the WTCC at the Paul Ricard circuit, this weekend ends on a positive note for the Sébastien Loeb Racing at the Slovakia Racing. Indeed, on board of his Citroën C-Elysée, Mehdi Bennani has come back into the overall Top 10 with a seventh-place finish in Race 2. Once again he has also tasted a new podium in the Yokohama Trophy – for independent drivers only – with a second place.

We want to come closer to the drivers of the Citroën Racing

Mehdi Bennani

“I’m quite happy with the result itself, but our pace wasn’t fast enough for me to be completely satisfied” explains Mehdi Bennani. “We want to come closer to the drivers of the Citroën Racing and to do so we’ve got to improve purely in terms of performance. We’re working hard, sticking together and I stay confident. Both starts were good, I’m fine with that now. Our final position isn’t bad at all and it’s a good thing to be back on the podium in the Yokohama Trophy. Regarding that, it’s positive.”

“The weekend ended better than it had begun and that’s what we want to build on” explains Citroën C-Elysée No. 25’s engineer Jean-Philippe Nicolao. “We had difficult qualifyings, we weren’t able to meet our objective of coming into the Top 10. We weren’t on the right pace during the race, but Mehdi made two very good starts which allowed him to catch up. He managed his races very intelligently and both of them should have led to a podium in the Independent drivers’ class. But the fact that the transmission broke did cost one of them. We want to do better performances and we’re working towards that. We’ve got good hopes for the next round at Le Castellet.”

Weekend report

As the weekend started on Friday, Mehdi Bennani posted the seventh time of the test session, two tenths away only from the Top 5. In twelfth position after the first free practice session, the Moroccan driver moved up to the seventh row during the second one. Unfortunately, on board of the C-Elysée No. 25, he didn’t manage to repeat the performances achieved in the qualifyings. He had to fight in Q1 in order to reach the twelfth place and to be allowed to take part in Q2. He then posted again the twelfth time in Q2.

Race 1

On the sixth row of the starting grid, Mehdi made an excellent start, reaching the ninth place after a couple of turns only. In tenth place at the end of the first lap, he moved up a place again during the second lap, thanks to a great overtaking of Norbert Michelisz’s Honda, from the outside. He then attacked Nicky Catsburg’s Lada, trying to close the gap. He found an opportunity to overtake in the eighth lap but had to go into the pits straight after following on a transmission problem.

Race 2

From the twelfth place, Mehdi made another great start, climbing to the ninth place within the first couple of turns. Ranked tenth after the first lap, he was fighting with Nicky Catsburg. Both drivers moved up a place, leaving Tom Chilton behind, then Mehdi imposed himself within the ninth lap. He then went up another place after Rob Huff’s withdrawal. And there he was again in seventh place where he would remain up until the chequered flag. Enough to be on the second step of the podium as part of the Yokohama Trophy.

Sébastien Loeb Racing

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About this article
Series WTCC
Event Slovakia
Sub-event Sunday race 2
Track Slovakia Ring
Drivers Mehdi Bennani
Teams Sébastien Loeb Racing
Article type Race report