United States: Bennani dedicates rostrum to King of Morocco

Mehdi Bennani battles power steering failure to pick up an emotional podium finish in the USA
FIA WTCC paddock favourite, Mehdi Bennani celebrated his second rostrum of the season with another second place at Sonoma, despite struggling from the start with broken power-steering.

The Proteam BMW driver took advantage of the qualifying reverse grid system and put his now ageing 320 TC in tenth, which meant pole position for race two.

The first race saw Bennani drop down the order to 18th and even before the start of his heroic effort to take second place in the second race later in the day, the Moroccan had power-steering issues.

Speaking after celebrating on the podium, Bennani explained just how his race panned out and dedicated his result to the King of Morocco, who decorated the racer a fortnight prior to the Sonoma round.

"Before the start, I said to the team manager that I had to come back to the pit because my power-steering was not working and it was very stiff to turn," he said. "Then, on each lap, I said that I have come back because I couldn't drive.

"When I saw that I wasn't losing time compared to Gabriele, I knew I could follow him but I was very happy when I knew it was the last lap! I made a slight mistake at the start, but Gabriele's overtaking move was very fair; he is a world champion and he knows what he is doing.

"It has been only two weeks since I was decorated by the King of Morocco and so this result is dedicated to the King."

The podium see's Bennani safe in twelfth position in the overall standings, but is embroiled with Stefano D'Aste for fourth place honours in the Yokohama trophy battle. D'Aste is trailing the ex-Formula Renault driver by two points.

by Dexter Fielding

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