WTCC Race of Argentina: Sebastien Loeb Racing braced for tough debut

Sebastien Loeb says his self-titled team is anticipating a tricky debut in WTCC this weekend at the season opener in Argentina
Sebastien Loeb says his self-titled team is ready for the huge challenges the World Touring Car Championship will throw at his young team.

The Sebastien Loeb Racing team will enter the WTCC for its debut season with Moroccan driver Mehdi Bennani at the wheel of its Citroen C-Elysee saloon car. 2015 will mark Bennani's fourth season in the series but first with the team, starting in Argentina this week for the season opener.

The team has previously raced in GT and sportscar series but WTCC is an unknown for the relatively young team. Loeb, who will race for the factory Citroen team in the series, only entered WTCC last season and finished third behind team-mates Jose Maria Lopez and Yvan Muller.

“For the team it's a new story,” said Loeb. “Though the squad is still relatively young, we have already tackled many challenges, but this one is very specific. It's an international competition, we are going to face the best touring cars, with some great manufacturers and some competitive private teams.

“The aim is to be strong and in good shape right from the first races as well as to show our competitiveness with Mehdi. However, we have to keep in mind that Argentina is a real first. We must proceed step by step, with no short cuts. Let's focus on our work. If the team does what it knows how to do, we will be heading towards the right direction.”

Bennani believes his experience in series will be of great use to the new team and is confident they can challenge at the front from the off. The Moroccan driver topped the afternoon session during the official Barcelona pre-season test last month.

“I'm confident I can perform well with the Citroën C-Elysée, but I am also aware of the various parameters still to be discovered,” said Bennani. “And I'll be racing against contenders who already have that knowledge and experience. The aim is to give it our best shot and not have a single regret. I'm not thinking of a specific place. I just want everybody to give 150 per cent to be satisfied. That way we will make progress.

“My experience will be of great help in the global approach of this first round, including mentally. It takes time to gain experience and I am obviously better prepared than the previous years. We'd always like to have more practice sessions. It will be our first race with the Sébastien Loeb Racing, therefore there'll be a lot to learn not only in relation to the car but also in terms of working methods.

“I very much like the team's mindset and I fully trust them. If we manage to gather everything needed, I have no doubt that it will lead to a good outcome. But we'll have to progress throughout the weekend, that will be one of the key elements.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb Racing, WTCC [Credit:]
Nestor Girolami, Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo, WTCC [Credit: WTCC]
Tom Chilton, Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen [Credit: XPB]
Tom Coronel, Roal Chevrolet [Credit: WTCC media]
Gabriele Tarquini, Lada, Moscow [Credit: WTCC media]
Nicky Catsburg, Lada, WTCC [Credit: WTCC media]
Nicky Catsburg, Lada, WTCC [Credit: WTCC media]
Jose Maria Lopez, Citroen, [Credit: WTCC media]
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing [credit: Florent Gooden / DPP]
Jose Maria Lopez, Citroen, [Credit: WTCC media]
Rob Huff - Castrol Honda Civic
Rob Huff - Castrol Honda Civic
Tom Coronel - ROAL Chevrolet Cruze
Rob Huff - Castrol Honda Civic [credit: FIA WTCC Media]
Rob Huff - Castrol Honda Civic [credit: FIA WTCC Media]
Yvan Muller - Citroen Racing [credit: FIA WTCC Media]
Yvan Muller - Citroen Racing [credit: FIA WTCC Media]
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing [credit: FIA WTCC Media]

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