Tom Coronel strengthens Independents lead The stage of 11th and 12th round of the FIA European Touringcar championship was set at Donington Park. After some tyre problems BMW driver Tom Coronel had to settle for 20th place on the grid. From ...
Tom Coronel strengthens Independents lead
The stage of 11th and 12th round of the FIA European Touringcar championship was set at Donington Park. After some tyre problems BMW driver Tom Coronel had to settle for 20th place on the grid. From this position the Dutchman managed to climb up to 13th in the first race and from there to 8th place in the second race. As Coronel was out of the equation for a podium spot this time he decided to concentrate on maximizing his position in the Michelin Independents Trophy. In this battle for privateers he scored a second and a first place which brings his total now to 96 points, 35 more than his next rival Italian Alfa Romeo driver Stefano d'Aste.
The changeable British weather was to be an important factor all through the weekend. After his fine fifth place in free practise Tom Coronel was unable to repeat his form in qualifying. "Just before qualifying started there were some showers and we thought it would stay wet. Therefore I went out on wets, but the racing line was drying out quickly. I had both a new set of wets as a set of dry tyres available in the pits. I tried out some cold slicks, hoping that I could get some heat into them. This was to no avail, so I tried a set of warmed up slicks. Just when I wanted to start a hot lap Andy Priaulx went off, so I could not continue on full speed because of the yellow flags. All in all qualifying was not too great this time, but knowing that we were still able to go faster we were not too worried. Our confidence was confirmed in the warm up when we set the seventh fastest time", Tom said.
Carly Motors driver Tom Coronel started the first race of the day well. "Zanardi and d'Aste were fighting each other ahead of me. I was following them and I was looking for a gap to get through. This seemed to work until d'Aste nearly went off. I nearly went with him, but was able to continue and rejoin the race to the front. I overtook another couple of drivers, but unfortunately for me not much of the top 8 drivers dropped out, so I ended up in 13th place. In the privateers battle I finished second, just behind Tavano. In the second race I took some more risk. The others also did so I could benefit from some people dropping out ahead of me. After I overtook Tavano on lap four I was in eighth position which would also give me a point for the general standings. Rickard Rydell had other thoughts about this and overtook me for eighth place. Fortunately I could outfox him in the final lap of the race which put me in eight place and first in the privateer standings. So all in all a good weekend for points", Tom said.
The first race was won by James Thompson in an Alfa Romeo 156 while the second race of the day was won by Andy Priaulx in his BMW Team Great Britain 320i.
Tom Coronel is supported this year by McGregor, Autocentrum Beelen, Kruidvat, BBS, JBL and Apex.
Standings Michelin Independents Trophy 2004 after 12 races:
1.Tom Coronel 96 points, 2. Salvatore Tavano 61, 3. Alessandro Balzan 59.
General standings ETCC 2004 after 12 races:
1.Andy Priaulx 72 points, 2. Dirk Muller 68, 3. Jorg Muller 65 (all BMW), 4. Gabriele Tarquini (Alfa-Romeo) 57 and 11. TOM CORONEL (Carly Motors BMW) 16.