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Mehdi Bennani and Proteam switch to Honda for 2014 WTCC

Medhi Bennani

Mehdi Bennani will run a 2014-spec Honda Civic in next year's World Touring Car Championship.

As first predicted in AUTOSPORT magazine in September, the Moroccan will drive a fourth Civic next year, which will be run by his current Proteam squad.

Zengo did have an option on the fourth car, but last week confirmed it will remain a one-car outfit, with 2013 race winner Norbert Michelisz its sole driver.

While Bennani is yet to score a victory in the WTCC, he has been close to the breakthrough several times this season, starting from reverse-grid pole twice and finishing runner-up on three occasions.

"Throughout the current season I think I proved that I am capable of achieving excellent results and fighting for the top positions," Bennani said.

"I claimed three second places and four victories in the Yokohama Trophy, and had close fights for the overall victory with the likes of Tarquini, [Tom] Coronel and [Rob] Huff.

"I am very excited now to make another step forward and being entrusted one of the most competitive cars in the field."

William de Braekeleer, Honda Europe's motorsport manager, said the deal would also boost the series in its first year of running under new regulations.

"Because of next year's new technical regulations, the championship needed as many 2014-spec cars as possible and it was therefore in line with our philosophy to make a fourth 2014 Civic WTCC available for a private outfit," he said.

"Needless to say that we are particularly pleased that an agreement could be made with an experienced and successful squad like Proteam and we can't wait to see Mehdi showing his great talents at the wheel of the new Civic."

Proteam has been in the WTCC since 2005, and won the Independents' title with Sergio Hernandez in 2008 and '10.

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