Mehdi Bennani returns to successful hunting ground
Mehdi Bennani and the Sébastien Loeb Racing continue their Asian trip as part of the World Touring Car Championship: following on Japan, they are now heading to China this weekend (September 26th-27th). With the Citroën C-Elysée No. 25, the Moroccan driver and Alsace-based team want to build on Motegi’s promising race, hoping to clinch a great result in Shanghai. Last year Mehdi got his first win in the discipline on that track.
Back in Super Pole in Motegi, with the fourth time of the qualifying, Mehdi Bennani showed his ability to fight towards the front of the race. He is now definitely willing to make the most of this competitiveness at the WTCC next round. “We’re approaching this round with the same mindset as before, namely we want to do as well as possible” Mehdi explains. “It was great to be back in the Top 5 in the qualifying, it shows that we’re on it. However it’s not that surprising since the team has worked a lot throughout the break and I think that we’ve got a better understanding of the C-Elysée now. It’s only our first season all together and we need time. We want to be pitted against the best teams and we’re doing what it takes. We need to optimize every single detail.”
We have to put the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle together and to improve on our start particularly.
Mehdi Bennani and the Sébastien Loeb Racing will attend the next round of the season in Shanghai. Created for Formula 1 and hosting the China Grand Prix since 2004, that track received the WTCC for the first time in 2014. “It’s not an easy layout” Mehdi confides. “You need both good downforce in fast corners and great maximum speed since the straight line is quite long. It’s hard to find the right compromise. Though we’ve still got a lot to learn and each race is an opportunity to gain the experience we need, the team has also shown that they can quickly work out the right setup.”
Mehdi Bennani is already familiar with Shanghai circuit. Actually, he got his first WTCC success there last season. “It’s always a great pleasure to get back on a track where you’ve previously won, all the more since that victory there was quite important and felt special” he says. “Obviously it’d be fantastic to achieve the same performance with our C-Elysée! But, just like in Motegi, we’re simply going to give our best, thinking of confirming the performance we posted during the qualifying and then hoping to realise that potential during the race. That’s what we’re lacking today. Which place? We’ll see, it’ll come naturally. We have to put the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle together and to improve on our start particularly.”
In addition to the Citroën C-Elysée entered for Mehdi Bennani, the Sébastien Loeb Racing will also continue to bring its operational support to the car entered by Citroën Racing for Ma Qing Hua to whom this Shanghai round will be a home race. Citroën is bound to see one of its drivers win and will also be already securing the manufacturers’ title at this round in Shanghai.
Sébastien Loeb Racing