Bennani switches to Loeb Citroen team for 2015

Mehdi Bennani will drive a Citroen C-Elysee for the incoming Sebastien Loeb Racing team in the 2015 World Touring Car Championship.
Bennani switches to Loeb Citroen team for 2015

World Touring Car race winner Mehdi Bennani will drive a Citroen C-Elysee for Sebastien Loeb's eponymous team in the 2015 World Touring Car Championship, it has been announced.

The Moroccan, who became the first African driver to win a WTCC race in Shanghai this season, will drive one of two satellite Citroens being entered by Sebastien Loeb Racing in 2015, the team making the move into touring car racing after establishing itself in sportscars.

Driving the car that dominated throughout the 2014 WTCC season, Bennani - who raced the satellite Proteam Honda Civic in 2014 - is thrilled to have secured a coveted seat for 2015.

"My goal is to keep on progressing with the Citro?n C-Elys?e which is the World Champion car," he said. "I feel that everything is there for me to meet that goal. That project fits perfectly into my ambition for progress and improvements.

"S?bastien Loeb is a great champion, I have discovered his team through its GT and Prototypes programmes. That squad is just like S?bastien himself. I am joining in to go as high as possible! After a very positive season marked by a first personal win, the first one ever for Morocco, we've planned on a good preparation.

"I feel like a Moroccan Ambassador and I am ambitious. My long-term aim is to fight for the title. That's my ultimate dream and my commitment with the S?bastien Loeb Racing must allow me to get closer to that objective. The enthusiasm in Morocco is becoming more and more important and I am convinced that with the Citro?n C-Elys?e lined up by the S?bastien Loeb Racing, many people will be supporting me in 2015."

World Rally legend Loeb - who will continue to race in the full factory Citroen Racing team for 2015 -, is confident Bennani is the ideal driver to spearhead his team in its first touring car foray.

"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. The squad has been demonstrating its capacities for three years, some of our engineers and mechanics have already moved up in WTCC, so there is a desire to be good.

"Mehdi shares some of our team's strong values such as ambition and combativeness. That state of mind is essential in such a project. Besides, Mehdi is also a true Moroccan Ambassador and it is important for the S?bastien Loeb Racing to develop its image internationally. That's an important aspect for Citro?n too."

After a part-time campaign with Citroen Racing in 2014 - which yielded a race win in Russia -, Chinese racer Ma Qing Hua is expected to partner Bennani in SLR Citroen next season.

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