Bennani stands ready for home WTCR weekend

by Phil Kinch

There has been a lot of buildup to the 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) over the winter with new faces joining established teams in the series.

With an intensive test programme now completed by both Sébastien Loeb Racing and Volkswagen Motorsport, the squads four drivers will be looking to make an early impact on the season.

However, with the Balance of Performance already in place and the Barcelona test already acknowledged as not giving a true picture, Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets knows the truth will be clear in Marrakech.

Sébastien Loeb Racing have completed a lot of testing ahead of this weekend. Credit: Volkswagen Motorsport

“This year, the WTCR is without a doubt the strongest touring car racing series in the world. A highly intensive season preparation phase now lies behind us, but the true balance of power will not become apparent until Morocco,” says Smeets.

“We are aiming for victories and podiums – and obviously we want to be fighting for the driver and team titles at the very end. That said, between now and then are ten race weekends with a total of 30 tough races to tackle.”

With high expectations on all twenty-six drivers taking part this year, there will be more pressure on local driver Mehdi Bennani this weekend as his home round is host to the opening three races of action in WTCR:

The 2019 WTCR Race of Morocco.

Bennani knows the pressure of racing at home in the first weekend of a new season. Credit: Volkswagen Motorsport

With second place last year being his best result since both WTCC and WTCR started visiting the circuit in 2009 and 2018 respectively, Bennani knows what the target is.

“Huge pressure is on my shoulders. A win or at least a podium is what the fans are hoping for and this gives me added motivation and I absolutely want to give them an unforgettable weekend,” explained the Volkswagen driver.

“Qualifying is really important and it is essential to get through the first corner unscathed. It is very difficult to overtake on this track, with the best opportunities coming at turns one and four.”

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