This page contains archived information and may not display perfectly

Bennani takes his turn to shine in WTCC testing

After Sébastien Loeb topped the times during the opening morning of official FIA World Touring Car Championship testing in Barcelona today, Mehdi Bennani set the pace this afternoon on his first public outing in a Citroën C-Elysée WTCC.

Bennani, who made history by becoming the first African WTCC winner last season, has joined Sébastien Loeb Racing for 2015 and upstaged his world championship rivals present at the Circuit de Catalunya today by posting the fastest time during the closing three-hour session.

The Moroccan took 1m50.948s to lap the 4.655-kilometre track, with Gabriele Tarquini second fastest for Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team, 0.145s further back. Hugo Valente (Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) was third quickest in a time of 1m51.6s. His team-mate John Filippi was fourth quickest with Tiago Monteiro fifth in the second Castrol Honda entry. Loeb was sixth fastest with Norbert Mischelisz seventh quickest for Zengő Motorsport.

Stefano D’Aste was also in action as he got his first run in the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Cruze he will use in 2015. The Italian was credited with a best lap this morning of 1m51.788s although his effort wasn’t included in the official timing classification.

Several WTCC stars were not testing in Barcelona having run at alternative venues over the winter or due to the fact they are waiting for their cars to be completed for the new season. Meanwhile, LADA Sport Rosneft is currently testing its all-new Vesta at Magny-Cours in France in readiness for WTCC Race of Argentina from 6-8 March.

Weather conditions were dry and sunny throughout the day.

Leading testing times (afternoon session):
1 Mehdi Bennani (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) 1m50.948s
2 Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Civic WTCC) 1m51.063s
3 Hugo Valente (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) 1m51.216s
4 John Filippi (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) 1m51.641s
5 Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC) 1m52.075s
6 Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) 1m52.790s
7 Norbert Mischelisz (Honda Civic WTCC) 1m52.846s

Combined testing times (morning and afternoon sessions)
1 Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) 1m49.972s
2 Mehdi Bennani (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) 1m50.847s
3 Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Civic WTCC) 1m51.063s
4 Hugo Valente (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) 1m51.216s
5 Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC) 1m51.319s
6 John Filippi (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) 1m51.723s
7 Norbert Mischelisz (Honda Civic WTCC) 1m52.045s