FNIPPON: Tom Coronel Sugo Race Report 1999-08-01

Victory increases Coronel's lead in Formula Nippon championship Tom Coronel celebrated another victory in Formula Nippon as he won the sixth round of the championship. In the gruelling heat in Sugo he led the 60-lap race from start to finish.

Victory increases Coronel's lead in Formula Nippon championship

Tom Coronel celebrated another victory in Formula Nippon as he won the sixth round of the championship. In the gruelling heat in Sugo he led the 60-lap race from start to finish. After this race the Dutchman, who is sponsored this year by Marlboro, Bakkerij Bart, McGregor, Bridgestone, Mobil 1 and Honda, is now firmly in the lead of the championship.

"In fact this was the key race in the championship", Coronel started his story. "The Formula Nippon calender counts 10 races and we are now past the halfway mark. Actually the whole weekend was super. In practice everything went as it should be and we ended up on pole position. Of course we tested here two weeks ago so we knew how we should set up the car. Besides that you should pay some extra attention to the start here. Unlike on other circuits pole position is on the 'dirty' part of the track, so not on the racing line where you have the best grip. Anyway my start was perfect. In my mirrors I saw that Motoyama and Kurosawa were fighting there own battle. I decided to follow my own plan and not to look in the mirrors for the next couple of laps. I concentrated on my own race and tried to build up a lead. From the test I knew that the Bridgestone tyres were at it's best in the first 15 laps. I used this knowledge to the maximum by building up a lead of 8 seconds. Because of the tremendous heat (35-37 degrees Celsius) you really have to pay attention to every detail. This was for sure the hottest race of my career and therefore I wore only the prescribed racegear. You really have to look after your body in these conditions. I was able to control the second part of the race. I gave up a little bit of my advantage, but I was always in control and I never had a difficult moment. In other words my second victory in Formula Nippon couldn't escape me", Coronel said afterwards.

After the race the joy of not only the Dutch driver, but also the complete PIAA Nakajima team was enormous. Coronel: "This was the turning point in the championship. We are on the right track now and we must keep the winning spirit. Our extensive test sessions paid of here. We had a troublefree race and we must continue this way for the rest of the season. My only treat for the championship is Motoyama now, the rest is at a considerable distance now. For sure we are not sure of the title yet but we have a firm basis now. We are on top now with four races to go before the championship will be decided. Now I am concentrating on my next race, which will be a GT race in the Mobil 1 Nakajima Honda NSX. The race will be held at Fuji next week, in the weekend of the Marlboro Masters at Zandvoort. Over the last few years it has became a tradition that I win a race in that weekend, so I guess we'd better stick it", Coronel concluded.

Results sixth race Formula Nippon: 1. Tom Coronel (PIAA-Nakajima) 60 laps in 1.15.13.456 2. Satoshi Motoyama (Unlimited Le Mans) 1.15.21.296 3. Takuya Kurosawa (TMS) 1.16.00.486 4. Michael Krumm (5Zigen Unlimited Le Mans)1.16.01.706 5. Juichi Wakisaka (ARTA) 1.16.02.065 6. Ralph Firman (Shionogi Nova) 1.16.11.308.

Standings after 6 races: 1. Tom Coronel 36 2. Satoshi Motoyama 32 3. Hidetoshi Mitsusada 16 4. Peter Dumbreck 12 5. Masami Kageyama and Ralph Firman 11.

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