Bennani: Loeb brings power to the WTCC

Bennani: Loeb brings power to the WTCC

17/03/2017 12:00

FIA World Touring Car Championship race winner and team owner Sébastien Loeb is making a big difference to Mehdi Bennani’s efforts to challenge for world title glory in 2017.

Bennani has raced for the team co-owned by the nine-time World Rally champion since 2015, claiming two outright wins and the WTCC Trophy crown last season.

Loeb was present during WTCC testing at Monza on Tuesday and Bennani said he gained plenty from his visit.

“He always gives advice, he’s always coaching the people around, the team, the drivers,” said Bennani. “It’s very strong to have the power of Sébastien Loeb with us. He’s the reference so it’s nice to have him on our side.”

Bennani set some impressive lap times during Monza testing but admitted to pushing too far on Wednesday morning.

“We were trying a lot things and a lot of new things on the car,” explained. “You always try to be on the limit and sometimes over the limit to know where the limit is. At Monza we touched a little bit the gravel at Lesmo 1 and my car was in the gravel.”

The 2017 World Touring Car Championship season opens with Bennani’s home event, FIA WTCC AFRIQUIA Race of Morocco in Marrakech from 7-9 April.

Mehdi Bennani and Norbert Michelisz triumphed at WTCC Race of Portugal on 25 June as world championship motor racing history was made with the introduction of the ‘joker’ lap.

Thed Björk and Nicky Catsburg were the winners for Polestar Cyan Racing as the FIA World Touring Car Championship title race was blown wide open following a dramatic WTCC Race of Germany on the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife in late May.

Thed Björk signed-off from his Swedish GT campaign with Polestar Cyan Racing by helping Prince Carl Philip move to within touching distance of the title lead.

Mehdi Bennani became the fifth different winner in the all-action 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship as 45,000 fans watched the action at WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Hungary on 14 May.

Victories for Thed Björk and Tom Chilton at WTCC OSCARO Race of Italy at Monza on 30 April made it four different winners from four races in this year’s wide-open FIA World Touring Car Championship.

Filipe de Souza will return to the FIA World Touring Car Championship for the upcoming races in China and Japan, increasing the highly competitive entry in the process.