Tom Coronel and his teammate Hidetoshi Mitsusada finished in fifth place with the Mobil 1 Nakajima Honda NSX in the final round of the Japanese GT series at Motegi. The championship was won by Erik Comas in the NISMO Nissan Skyline GT-R.
"All in all fifth place is not too bad", Coronel said afterwards. "After winning the last race at Aida our handicap weight was increased up to 90 kg. With this weight the Nakajima engineers were trying hard to optimize the car. They did a fin job and especially the handling was outstanding this time. As in the last race my teammate Hidetoshi Mitsusada took the start. He got of the line very well and gave it his best shot. Two laps before the end of his stint he collided with another car. He spun and dropped back to sixth place. The driver- and tyre-change went perfect. Just like in the last race we tried to gain a lot of time on cold tyres. It worked out quite well, in fact a bit too well. When I drove out of the pits I released the button of the speedlimiter a bit too early. Because of this I drove 9 km/h to fast according to the radar of the race officials. I was called in for a stop and go penalty which was understandable but sorry for me. Fortunately the setup was also good in the second part of the race so I was able to keep pushing. Fifth was all we could take today. Looking back at this season we have to conclude that we had a lot of problems in the first few races. In the second part of the year things went better and better. At the end of November the All star GT race well be held at Autopolis. This is a non-championship race were all cars drive without handicapweight. Last year we won the All Star race at Aida and I expect that we will do well again this year. We now found a really good setup for the Honda NSX so we are definitively going for a repeat of last year's race", Coronel concluded afterwards.
In the mean time Coronel is preparing himself for the Formula Nippon championship showdown at Suzuka. The race will be held at 14 November. As might be known the Dutchman is leading the championship by 4 points to his rival Satoshi Motoyama.
Motegi, 24 October 1999 - www.coronel.nl
Results GT Race Motegi: 1. M. Sekiya/T. Kurosawa (Toyota Supra) 1 h 59 min. 11.055 sec; 2. A. Suzuki/ M. Krumm (Nissan Skyline) at 10.727; 3. E. Comas/S. Motoyama (Nissan Skyline) at 10.839; 4. O. Nakako/ R. Michigami (Honda NSX) at 12.390; 5. Tom Coronel/ H. Mitsusada (Honda NSX) at 41.758; 6. P-H Raphanel/ S. Yamaji (Toyota Supra) at 48.271.
Final Standings Japanese GT Series 1999 1. Erik Comas 77; 2. M. Sekiya/ T. Kurosawa 73; 3. S. Motoyama 69; 4. J. Wakisaka/K. Kaneishi 47; 5. Tom Coronel 41; 6. A. Suzuki, M. Krumm, K. Hoshino and M. Kageyama 40.