Mehdi Bennani will race for the new Sébastien Loeb Racing team in next year’s FIA World Touring Car Championship.
Sébastien Loeb is a great champion, I have discovered his team through its GT and Prototypes programmes. That squad is just like Sébastien himself. I am joining in to go as high as possible,” Bennani said.
Bennani was hotly tipped to be one of the team’s new drivers since confirmation that Loeb – who races for the works Citroën team – will enter two of his own cars next year. The French rally ace will field two ex-works Citroën C-Elysée racers in next year’s championship season.
“I’ve been on the tracks with Mehdi before and I’ve competed against him in 2014, I know the great competitor he is. Mehdi has a very good experience in WTCC and his feedback will be useful to the entire team,” Loeb added.
The second seat at Sébastien Loeb Racing is rumoured to be claimed by Citroën’s ‘fourth driver’, Chinese racer Ma Qing Hua, who ran a part-time campaign for the French manufacturer in 2013, winning on debut in Russia.
Bennani’s departure leaves a vacancy at Proteam Racing – for whom Bennani raced for four seasons – which is likely to be hotly contested given Honda’s late-season improvements. Bennani claimed his maiden race win – and the first for the new Honda Civic – at Shanghai this year en route to finishing eleventh overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
Image via AutoPlus and Christian Hartung