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Mehdi Bennani handed grid penalty for Paul Ricard WTCC race

Mehdi Bennani

Mehdi Bennani has been given a grid penalty for Paul Ricard for causing the Marrakech World Touring Car Championship start crash - and excluded from the race for being underweight.

Proteam Honda driver Bennani came together with the ROAL Chevrolet of fellow front-row start Tom Coronel on the run off the line during race two on Sunday.

Coronel's car was sent into the wall and then collected by Yvan Muller's Citroen, taking both out and jeopardising Coronel's participation in the coming weekend's second round at Ricard.

Watch Marrakech mayhem videos on AUTOSPORT's WTCC page

"It started with a little tap, which isn't a problem, but he kept pushing and started turning to the right," said Coronel.

"There was nothing I could do, I was merely a passenger in my own car.

"I don't really understand it. Mehdi is a friend of mine and I reckon he was determined to shine here in front of his home crowd, but he definitely overdid it."

Bennani was given a drive-through penalty in the race but recovered to fifth place. The stewards subsequently decided to add a three-place grid penalty for Ricard as well.

Shortly after that decision, it was announced that Bennani had been excluded from race two completely after his Honda was found to be underweight.

In another stewards' ruling on Sunday night, Campos Racing's Dusan Borkovic was demoted from fifth to sixth in race one due to a 10-second penalty for the team removing the SD card from the onboard camera on his Chevrolet.

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