TCR World and life

We are now halfway through the season; from your point of view, how do you think things have gone so far? “I have to say that I’m very happy to be involved in this programme, because the European championship looks very professional and extremely competitive. There have already been some great fights between all the different cars and there are also quite a few drivers in TCR Europe who were in the WTCR with me! Personally speaking, it has been a very good first half of the championship and I’m looking forward to the remaining events.” You’re part of the three-car Comtoyou Racing line-up, together with two young drivers. Do you see your role in the team as partly a mentor to Sami Taoufik and Nicolas Baert as well as being a driver yourself? “Yes, for sure. I always try to help the team to the maximum of my ability because when we win, it’s one team winning and when we lose it’s one team losing. With both the young drivers, I try to share everything I have in the luggage; the experience I have collected over the years. I’m confident that both of them have very big potential and talent. They are already fast and working very hard to manage the entire weekend, to be at the very top. We are looking to do something big in Morocco with an academy programme for young drivers and so I’m particularly happy to see things going so well for Sami. He’s a very promising driver, as are some of the other young Moroccan drivers. I think it’s a good way to show that motorsport in Morocco is one of the most popular sports in our country and we have a good standing in both track levels and driver ability.” Does this mean you’re already starting to think about the next stage in your career - in driver management or driver development? “Any time is a good time, to be honest. When you start to think it might be a good time to do something, maybe it’s already too late to do it. I would like to see the Moroccan flag competing in every series and it’s already starting to go in the right direction because Moroccan people are starting to promote the drivers, the circuits and the academy side. When we see that we have a country like Morocco which is in Africa, I’m happy to see that Morocco is starting to open the door for African motorsports to develop drivers and tracks and to bring our continent into the sport in a big way. It’s a good time at the moment because we hope we can be ready enough to work on the sporting side of every angle of motorsport. TCR is very good in helping to develop all of this because when we see drivers like Nicolas Baert, who came from Formula 4 and has lots of experience in single-seaters, and Sami, who came from the Formula Renault Eurocup, it’s very important for drivers to have a strong base in motorsport. When you come to a series like TCR Europe and begin to achieve good results, you know straight away that you are moving in the right direction, towards the top of the pyramid.” Three questions to… Mehdi Bennani After spending several seasons in the World Touring Cars, with success, Morocco’s motorsport star Mehdi Bennani is currently competing in the TCR Europe series, driving an Audi RS 3 LMS for Comtoyou Racing.