A positive preparation for Mehdi Bennani and the Sébastien Loeb Racing

Convincing first tests for the team !

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By Olivier Ferret

17 February 2015 - 12:27
A positive preparation for Mehdi (...)

Before the opening round of the World Touring Car Championship, in Argentina, on March 6th to 8th, the Sébastien Loeb Racing has had two testing days to discover the Citroën C-Elysée. First in Barcelona, as part of the FIA WTCC official practice sessions, then at the Circuito Monteblanco. Those two moments were very positive for the Alsace-based team and its driver Mehdi Bennani who had the chance to get familiar with the car while posting the second fastest time of the practice sessions.

Sébastien Loeb : “Convincing first tests for the team !”

Après After a first shakedown near Paris earlier this month, the Sébastien Loeb Racing’s new international programme got concretely launched on track last week. Indeed, the team first tested the Citroën C-Elysée as part of the FIA WTCC official test session which took place at the Circuit de Catalunya on Friday February 13th. With Mehdi Bennani at the wheel, that session was particularly enriching for the team co-founded by Sébastien Loeb and Dominique Heintz. In addition to getting familiar with this new car, which was the practise’s main objective, the Moroccan driver also very quickly distinguished himself, clocking the fastest time in the afternoon and the second-fastest of the day, behind Sébastien Loeb only.

After Barcelona, the Sébastien Loeb Racing travelled to Monteblanco for a new working day with Mehdi Bennani in the bucket seat. That shakedown was very constructive too for members of the Alsatian squad which did benefit from ideal conditions to discover its new Citroën C-Elysée, 2014 World Champion with Citroën Racing.

”The first tests of the team are convincing” says Sébastien Loeb, Director of the Sébastien Loeb Racing and Citroën Racing driver. “Everything went well, both for Mehdi who is satisfied and the engineers and mechanics who have done a good job. Everybody adapted very quickly and Mehdi performed well. It’s very encouraging for the future. Actually his final long stint towards the end of the day was a very interesting one. As the team’s boss I’m very happy. As a driver, I am aware that a more competitive Citroën car will also be participating. But all I see from those test days is a positive outcome.”

“The main focus point of the test sessions was to become familiar with the Citroën C-Elysée” explains Mehdi Bennani. “I also needed to understand the team’s working method. I have met those two objectives through the test sessions. I have been able to garner as much information as possible. We’ve tried out different settings, I’ve been able to bring some good feedback and I think that we’re going in the right direction. We know where we’re heading to, whether in terms of the qualifying sessions or the race. I had many things to learn, but I feel comfortable in the Citroën. I’m enjoying myself, it’s a different feeling which I definitely appreciate. After Barcelona, my experience in Monteblanco allowed me to gain a lot as well. Several team members have some experience in WTCC and Citroën Racing drivers have given me advice. It bodes well. We’re trying to be as well-prepared as possible for Argentina.”

In Termas de Rio Hondo, five Citroën C-Elysée will take to the track. One of them will be entered by the Sébastien Loeb Racing and driven by Mehdi Bennani while Citroën Racing will be lining up the four others, handed over to drivers José Maria Lopez, Yvan Muller, Sébastien Loeb and Ma Qing Hua. The Alsace-based team will bring its operational support to Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua’s car.

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