Mehdi Bennani secures ‘best win of career’ in Macau

Opening Race winner Mehdi Bennani described his victory as the ‘best win’ in his World Touring Car Championship career, after the Moroccan led from lights-to-flag to take his sixth career win.

Bennani started the race from the reverse-grid pole position, even though the Sébastien Loeb Racing driver didn’t post a time in qualifying on Friday.

The Moroccan had got caught up in the accident of Néstor Girolami in qualifying and failed to post a time, but found himself in the prime position to the first race when other drivers also fell by the wayside.

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At the start of the race, Bennani therefore made the most of the clear track ahead of him and a strong start saw him lead, after which point he was unchallenged to score his third win of the season.

Victory also moves Bennani to the top of the WTCC Trophy standings for independents, ahead of team-mate Tom Chilton.

“Friday was very tricky for me and I didn’t manage one lap in Q2, but it was enough to be P10,” said Bennani. “I was very lucky to be on pole for the Opening Race and now I am very happy.

“I think I have taken the best win in my career because to win in Macau is something very special and to win in front of drivers like Tom Coronel and Rob Huff is also very, very special – they are very talented and experienced drivers here in Macau.”

Bennani also extended his congratulations to Coronel, who took his first podium of the season, and Honda’s Ryo Michigami, who took the first-ever podium result for a Japanese driver in the WTCC.

“Congratulations to Tom and also to [Ryo] Michigami, who has started to score some podiums – it is a big challenge to score podiums in the WTCC.”

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