Sébastien Loeb Racing and Mehdi Bennani first steps are positive ones and their ambitions are therefore higher and higher.
With two Top 5 in two rounds of the World Touring Car Championship, Mehdi Bennani has definitely started exploring the potential of his Citroën C-Elysée, a car that he is still familiarising himself with, racing for the Sébastien Loeb Racing. Having fighting against drivers of the Citroën Racing’s team in Marrakesh, and following on a first row and a fourth place, the Moroccan driver now wants to confirm. Mehdi is expected to be at the front of the race in Budapest. All the more as the Hungaroring track usually leads him to success.
We’re still learning. That’s actually quite a chance !
Though he is very used to the WTCC’s keenly-fought competition, Mehdi Bennani is still currently learning whether about his car, the Citroën C-Elysée, or regarding his team, the Sébastien Loeb Racing which participates in the discipline for the first time. Their first steps are positive ones and their ambitions are therefore higher and higher. With his strong personality, Mehdi is always moving forward. He has showed that brilliantly in Marrakesh, achieving a first row alongside World Champion Pechito Lopez and a fourth place just behind the 9-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb.
Just like his team, the Sébastien Loeb Racing, Mehdi wants to confirm the convincing results of this beginning of season. “We had mentioned about the Top 5 and the Yokohama Trophy’s first place, and today we are in keeping with our promises” says Mehdi. “The race in Hungary fits into the same line of approach. By the time we get to the weekend in Budapest, we’ll have an opportunity for an extra practice session which should allow us to improve our starts.
That’s one of the points where we want to progress. Our first two rounds were very positive, particularly in terms of competitiveness. We just have to keep in mind that we’re still learning. And that’s actually a chance ! That means that we’re developing, gaining strength and making progress. We have to give that process some time. We’re racing amongst the best competitors and that’s already a fantastic performance to have reached that level in such a small amount of time.”
Currently ranked seventh overall and leader of the Yokohama Trophy – for Independent drivers only – while the Sébastien Loeb Racing is third on the teams’ rankings, Mehdi Bennani gets to Budapest riding a good wave. Throughout the past three years in Hungary, the Moroccan driver has always crossed the line at least within the Top 5 : 5th in 2014, 2nd in 2013 and 4th in 2012. That confidence might play an important role next week.
“We’ll be on a track that I appreciate and where I’ve achieved the podium or some good results in the past” says Mehdi. “The qualifying will be key because it is said that it’s quite hard to overtake on that track. I’m still convinced that it’s possible though and I proved it last year with a good catching up I did. The fact that I reached the Q3 in Marrakesh motivates and stimulates me. We’ve learnt a lot with that. Just like in Marrakesh, we will give it 100%, aiming for the highest place, that’s for sure. We were racing amongst the Citroën Total’s drivers which means that we were close to the best level. We need to confirm.”
New challenges are awaiting the Sébastien Loeb Racing on the weekend of May 2nd and 3rd. In addition to Budapest’s race with the C-Elysée entered for Mehdi Bennani and the operational support brought to Ma Qing Hua’s car, entered by Citroën Racing, the team will also be in Le Mans for the GT Tour’s second round, with no less than two Audi R8 LMS ultra in the French GT Championship and four Porsche 911 GT3 Cup as part of the Porsche Carrera Cup France.
Sébastien Loeb Racing