Mehdi Bennani believes qualifying ‘was a big fight’ after taking second on Paul Ricard grid

Reigning TCR Europe champion Mehdi Bennani says its nice to “have a competitive championship” after taking second place on the grid for the opening race of the weekend at Paul Ricard.

Bennani was the first of the four Sebastien Loeb Hyundai Elantra’s to finish in the top five positions in qualifying on Saturday morning and the Moroccan driver finished just over a tenth of a second behind pole sitter Teddy Clairet.

His pace in France is another example of his fine start to the season after taking the win in race two at the Slovakiaring three weeks ago, and Bennani admitted he wants to remain at the front this weekend.

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“Like every time, Qualifying was a big fight,” explained the Hyundai driver.

“Some drivers give us a hard time coming from WTCR but it’s nice to have such a competitive championship.

“We were fighting a lot at the end to get ahead of the Peugeot but he beat us by one tenth.

“But we are there, I am having fun and we try to see. I’m also happy with all the results from the team, especially for Sami (Taoufik) because we are almost the same lap time.

“The goal in the race is to make a good start and see where we are. I want to get clear because I think it’s going to be a big fight; we are struggling with understeer so I think there will be big battles until the end.”

Heading into this weekend, Bennani is currently second in the championship standings behind Volcano Motorsport driver and 2018 TCR Europe champion Mikel Azcona.

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