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Mehdi Bennani aiming for top ten finish

Mehdi Bennani admits that he does not expect a ‘home advantage’ in the season-opening World Touring Car Championship races in Marrakech this weekend, with the Moroccan driver aiming for a top ten finish.

Bennani made his WTCC début at his local track five years ago in 2009 and has to-date scored a best result of ninth at the circuit, with his best result coming in 2009 and 2010. Consequently, the Moroccan is keeping his expectations in check for this weekend.

“There’s no such thing as a home advantage sadly,” admitted Bennani. “The Marrakech street circuit was created especially for the FIA WTCC. And even though the Moroccan Championship is held on the same streets, they are rarely longer than 1.5 km. So unfortunately my knowledge of this weekend’s circuit is no better than any other driver!”

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Despite Honda having conducted several pre-season test for their new Civic, Bennani has had little time behind the wheel of the brand new car. In addition it marks a return to front-wheel drive racing for the 30-year-old, who has campaigned rear-wheel drive BMW’s for the past four seasons.

“Furthermore, I will need some time to get to know the new Civic,” added Bennani. “After several years of experience with rear-wheel drive cars I now have to adapt my driving style to a very powerful front-wheel drive car.

“I’m sure it won’t take too long though and perhaps after a couple of races I’ll be able to fight amongst the frontrunners. In my first race with the Civic WTCC I hope I can thank my fans in Marrakech for their support with a top-10 finish.”

First free practice takes place at 09:00 BST (10:00 CEST), with second free practice following at 11:15 BST (12:15 CEST) and qualifying at 14:00 BST (15:00 CEST).

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