Bennani becomes WTCC Trophy Champion in Shanghai

Podium finish in the main race for the Citroën driver

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By Emmanuel Touzot

27 September 2016 - 15:00
Bennani becomes WTCC Trophy Champion in

Yesterday, in China, the Sébastien Loeb Racing celebrates Mehdi Bennani’s WTCC Drivers Trophy title. Alongside this triumph clinched at the Shanghai International Circuit in the World Touring Car Championship privateers’ class, the Moroccan driver also managed to access the third segment of the qualifying (Q3) and achieved an overall Top-3 in the Main race, the most important one of the weekend.

In that same race, Tom Chilton got the second place in class, thus furthering his advantage in second position of the WTCC Trophy. As for Grégoire Demoustier, he unfortunately missed the Opening race’s podium by a couple of seconds. For their second season only at the highest level touring car racing, Sébastien Loeb & Dominique Heintz’s team has ticked all boxes by clinching the two titles at stake in the WTCC Trophy, in both Drivers and Teams standings.

"People keep telling me that I’m 2016 WTCC Trophy Champion, yet I still can’t believe" says Bennani delighted (No. 25 Citroën C-Elysée), overcome by emotion after such an achievement which he has been chasing since his first season in this championship, back in 2009. 2016 was his second campaign with the Sébastien Loeb Racing.

"I’m so happy... And thrilled to win this title on Shanghai circuit where two years ago I celebrated my first WTCC win! Many fans came here to support me this weekend and I’m delighted to offer them this crown. Winning this trophy was a dream for me, because that’s what’s most difficult for the privateer racers. My teammate Tom has been a tough rival all year round. We were always so close, we’ve got the same car, we’re racing for the same team, we’ve got exactly the same gear. But today the time has come for me to celebrate this title! Thanks to the Sébastien Loeb Racing!"

"I’m really happy for Mehdi", says Tom Chilton with fair play (No. 3 Citroën C-Elysée). "He did a model year. He already knew the car, it has taken me some time before I could be at the same level. But he’s a very good competitor and he deserves this title. Personally, I’m very frustrated to lose the championship in that way... In the first race I earned the overall second place very nicely which, beyond the podium itself, was perfect for me in the independent trophy as it meant that I was in front of Mehdi".

"Unfortunately I was hit very hard by a Lada at the exit of the hairpin. It was a very stupid attack, my front wheel got broken. I have to say a huge thanks to the Sébastien Loeb Racing crew who did an incredible job to fix the car, replacing all steering parts in only five minutes. Amazing! Thanks to them, I was able to be on the second grid, to keep at bay Tom Coronel and to finish 2nd in the WTCC Trophy, saving precious points before the final race in Qatar."

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