Morocco’s Mehdi Bennani hopes he can perform strongly on his début in TCR machinery when the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) takes to the streets of Marrakech this weekend.
The 34-year-old Moroccan has won six times in the WTCR’s predecessor, the WTCC, but he has never taken victory at his home circuit on the streets of Marrakech.
Switching to Volkswagen Golf GTi machinery in the Sébastien Loeb Racing team, Bennani believes that he is in a good position for the start of the 30-race season this weekend.
“For sure we hope for something strong because we worked very well with my coach over the winter,” said Bennani. “We saw in the previous years in the WTCC that we have a good pace, we have good fights.
“We had also some wins last year and I hope we can be strong and fight with all these great drivers. In Marrakech it’s something special because everybody is expecting a strong result from a Moroccan driver and I hope we can have a good result here in Marrakech.”
Bennani explains that with the TCR cars being simpler than the TC1 cars which he raced for the past four years finding the edge against the competition will be harder than ever.
“[The speed] is a little bit less but for sure the car is very nice to drive. It’s drivable, but to make it quick and fast it’s very, very tough.
“It’s going to be tough to put on the limit like a TC1 car and to fight with all these drivers, all these champions, is going to be very nice for all the people who are around us from outside.
“The winner will be different from each race, that’s going to happen.”
The 2018 WTCR season kicks off on Saturday 7 April 2018, with the first qualifying session and race taking place at 13:00 BST (14:00 CEST) and 17:00 BST (18:00 CEST) respectively.