Scuderia Proteam Racing has announced, as expected, that Mehdi Bennani will remain with the team for the 2012 World Touring Car Championship season, piloting one of the team’s two BMW 320TC challengers.
The 28-year-old Moroccan made his WTCC debut at his home race in 2009, driving a SEAT León TFSI run by the independent Exagon Engineering outfit. He impressed enough on his debut to remain with the squad for several more rounds that year, and joined the championship full-time in 2009 in a BMW run by Wiechers Sport.
|Bennani impressed in his debut season with the Exagon Engineering team (above left), although his second year, spent with Wiechers Sport (above right) was rather less-impressive, punctuated by a sequence of crashes.|
He switched to the Proteam outfit in 2011, finishing sixteenth overall in the Drivers’ Championship and seventh in the Yokohama Independents’ Trophy, finishing in the points on seven occasions.
His best performance was at the season-ending Guia Race of Macau, where he finished ninth in the first race and an impressive sixth in the second heat.
“We are very pleased to keep Mehdi in the team and we expect a further improvement in his performance after the positive season last year,” said team principal Marco Guiducci.
Guidicci also confirmed that it had signed experience engineer Marco Calovolo to its roster – Calovolo had previously worked as an engineer for James Thompson.
The team’s participation in this year’s championship was briefly under a cloud when Guidicci was arrested – and later released – by Italian police on suspicions of tax evasion.
Proteam is set to start testing next month ahead of March’s season-opener at Monza, and it will soon reveal the identity of its second driver to partner Bennani.
It is believed that Spanish driver Javier Villa will remain with the team for a second season.