Mehdi Bennani says he feels like he is 'living in a dream' as he became the first Moroccan to win a world championship motorsport event with victory in Shanghai.

The peak of a career that stretches back to 2009 when Bennani was invited to compete in Morocco's first WTCC race having completed only a handful of single-seater events prior to then, the 31-year-old has since progressed to become a strong contender in the series

Coming into the Shanghai weekend with a previous best result of second place, Bennani was finally able to go one better as he put his reverse grid pole position to good use to pull away from the competition and complete a lights-to-flag win in the Proteam Honda Civic.

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Almost too much for Bennani after he momentarily collapsed with jubilation in parc ferme, he was thrilled and proud to give Morocco its first international race winner.

"This is an incredible day for me, I still can't believe it and I try to imagine what will happen in Morocco," he said. "My country is new to motorsports, it basically came into the picture in 2009 when it hosted the first WTCC event. That gave me the opportunity to be a guest participant at that event and since then, it's like living in a dream.

"I want to thank everybody who has supported me and in the first place the King of Morocco. Also, Proteam Racing and Honda. We are an independent team but we get total support from Honda and their works team, as they share all the data and provide all the technical evolutions."

The result also marks a first win for the season for Honda, even before the Castrol Racing factory outfit.