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Mehdi Bennani scores first WTCC win in China

Mehdi Bennani scored his and Proteam Racing’s first-ever World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) win in race two in Shanghai, finishing ahead of Honda’s Tiago Monteiro and Citroën’s José María López.

Bennani’s win, which is also the first for a Moroccan driver in a World Championship event, was taken after starting from pole position. The Honda driver was unchallenged by Monteiro during the race, eventually winning by 2.590 seconds to also score the manufacturer’s first win of the season.

By finishing in third, López took a huge step towards the overall driver’s championship. The Argentine’s main title rival Yvan Muller failed to finish the race following contact from team-mate Sébastien Loeb at the hairpin on the second lap. With broken right-rear suspension, Muller was immediately out of the race and now has a 93-point deficit to López.

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Despite his earlier contact with Muller, Loeb finished in fourth with damage to the front-left corner of his car. The incident will be investigated after the race.

Zengő Motorsport’s Norbert Michelisz finished in fifth and with it the Hungarian moves ahead of works’ Honda driver Gabriele Tarquini in the championship standings. The Italian had earlier been forced to retire from the race after suffering technical problems whilst running in second.

Ma Qing Hua brought his Citroën home in sixth, having spent much of the race battling in the lower echelons of the top ten.

ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel was again the top Chevrolet driver in seventh, just ahead of team-mate Tom Chilton who came through from the back of the field. Chilton had started from the pitlane after his team took just a few seconds too long to repair his right-rear suspension after race one.

Campos Racing’s Hugo Valente finished in ninth, despite having started from the front row of the grid. Valente immediately lost out to the works’ Hondas at the start and thereafter gradually slipped further back in the race. His team-mate Dušan Borković completed the top ten – the Serbs first points since Belgium in June.

LADA’s James Thompson and Mikhail Kozlovskiy just missed out on the points in 11th and 12th – Thompson after starting from the back of the grid as a result of his car being taken out of parc fermé after race one to repair his front-left subframe.

Rob Huff also failed to finish the race for LADA, after suspected contact from Münnich Motorsport’s Gianni Morbidelli. The Italian went on to receive a drive-through penalty for the incident and finished in 13th position as the last of the TC1 drivers.

Liqui Moly’s Franz Engstler won the TC2 class in 14th position, ahead of Campos Racing’s John Filippi. William Lok in the second Campos SEAT did not start the race after his race one accident.

Top ten result

1 25 TC1 Mehdi BENNANI Proteam Racing Honda Civic WTCC 14 26:21.882 1:51.631 1
2 18 TC1 Tiago MONTEIRO Castrol Honda WTC Team Honda Civic WTCC 14 2.590 1:51.916 5
3 37 TC1 José María LÓPEZ Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 14 4.041 1:52.406 10
4 9 TC1 Sébastien LOEB Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 14 11.238 1:52.547 6
5 5 TC1 Norbert MICHELISZ Zengő Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC 14 13.976 1:52.921 7
6 33 TC1 MA Qing Hua Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 14 14.416 1:52.560 9
7 4 TC1 Tom CORONEL ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 14 21.725 1:53.112 11
8 3 TC1 Tom CHILTON ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 14 22.933 1:52.576 3
9 7 TC1 Hugo VALENTE Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 14 27.276 1:52.504 2
10 98 TC1 Dušan BORKOVIĆ NIS Petrol by Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 14 27.855 1:53.412 12

Complete race results

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