Bennani finishes Vallelunga test fastest
Sebastien Loeb Racing’s Mehdi Bennani finished the pre-season Vallelunga WTCC test fastest of all in his Citroen C-Elysee.
The SLR driver was just over three-tenths of a second faster than the Polestar Volvo S60 of Thed Bjork, with Bennani’s new SLR team-mate Tom Chilton completing the top three.
The five hour afternoon test was interrupted by a red flag due to a crash for Campos Racing’s John Filippi.
The Corsican’s car was carried back to the pit lane with severe rear-end damage, but Filippi himself was unhurt.
Rene Munnich was unable to set much mileage in the only other Chevrolet in the test due to an engine issue.
The two Volvos held the top spots for the first part of the afternoon, before the SLR Citroen's moved to the fore, with first Chilton setting the fastest time after overcoming set-up issues, shortly followed by Bennani, who eclipsed Jose Maria Lopez’s time from the morning.
The reigning champion led the way from Bennani by four tenths, with Fredrik Ekblom third quickest in the morning for Volvo.
Lopez then sat out the afternoon, with the sole factory Citroen driven by Yvan Muller, who ended the afternoon fifth fastest behind Honda’s Norbert Michelisz.
Fredrik Ekblom finished sixth, just over a second adrift of Bennani’s time, with Gregoire Demoustier seventh for SLR Citroen, ahead of the two Chevrolets.
Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes
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