For the fifth consecutive year Tom Coronel was victorious in the weekend of the Dutch Marlboro Masters race. In 1996 Tom scored his first Formula 3 win in Japan while the European Formula 3 competitors went head to head at Zandvoort in the Marlboro Masters. The following year Tom could afford to miss out a round of the Japanese series to compete in Zandvoort. He justified his trip from Japan by winning the Masters. This victory was followed by two victories in the Japanese GT series at Fuji in 1998 and 1999. Tom added another victory to his 'Master-weekend' tally by winning round 7 of the FIA GT series at Zeltweg. The 28 year old reigning Formula Nippon champion won the race together with fellow Dutchman Mike Hezemans in the Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper.
"In the week leading up to the race I was called by (former touringcar champion) Toine Hezemans. He asked me if I wanted to drive the Viper together with Mike this weekend as their regular driver David Hart was not able to compete this weekend. Originally I planned to visit the Marlboro Masters to see some friends racing, but a chance to race is hard to turn down for me so the choice was easy. I never drove a car like the Viper before but the team gave me all the time I needed to get used to it. With the heavy V10 engine in the front and an even higher inside temperature than in the Honda NSX I drove last year, the car is quite distinctive", Marlboro driver Coronel said. Together with Hezemans jr he was heading the timesheets from the very first practice session. Hezemans also took pole position in the wet/dry qualifying session by over a second.
"Mike started the race and drove the first one hour stint. When he came in he was 18 seconds faster than the second placed car. I managed to increase this lead to almost a minute. After the last pitstop Mike was leading by a lap at some stage. We decided to consolidate and bring the car home for the team's second victory this year.", Tom summed up his troublefree race.
With this result and the failure of the team's direct opponents the Team Carsport Holland managed to bring back their deficit in the championship to just 7.5 points. With seven of the ten races gone there is reason for optimism in the Dutch camp. The team is a serious contender for the championship now and with the domination it showed today the Team Carsport Holland is no longer just a dark horse for the title. Despite today's result there are currently no plans to enter Coronel in the remaining three races.
<pre> Results 1. Hezemans/Coronel (Chrysler Viper GTS-R) 113 laps; 2. De Richebourg/Clerico (Chrysler Viper) + 38.330s; 3. Kaufmann/Grasser (Porsche 911 GT2) + 1 lap 4. Belmondo/Gosselin (Chrysler Viper GTS-R) + 1 lap 5. Von Gartzen/Konrad (Porsche 911 GT2) + 1 lap
Standings after 7 races: 1. Bailey / Cambell Walter 39 points 3. Mike Hezemans 31,5 4. De Richebourg 28 5. Vosse 25 6. David Hart 21,5