Tom Coronel finishes eighth and fourth in WTCC rounds at Hungaroring.
Budapest – After an absence of one weekend during the races at the circuit of Paul Ricard in France, Tom Coronel's ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze was ready in time for the third meeting of the year in Budapest. Following the major damage during the season opener in Morocco, the team worked on the preparation of the car until the very last minute. The 42-year old driver from The Netherlands rewarded the efforts with an eighth and a hard-fought fourth place in the FIA WTCC races at the Hungaroring. Thus, he is classified eleventh in the World Touring Car Championship with 16 points.
Fortunately, Tom Coronel's race weekend already started with free practice on Friday. The first shakedowns allowed him to test the fully rebuilt Cruze extensively and make adjustments where necessary. On Saturday, that put him on eighth place on the grid for the first race and third place for the second race.
A good start including some wheelspin saw Tom Coronel maintain his eighth place and bring it home after the first race of 14 laps. In the repair break between the two races, it became clear that Mehdi Bennani (who had caused the major damage during the season opener in Morocco) couldn't take part in the second race. Thus, the starting grid position behind the Dutchman for the second race remained vacant, which gave him a little bit more room. Tom Coronel made a strong start and succeeded in keeping the Citroëns of Yvan Muller and José Maria López at bay throughout the 14 laps. A podium finish was just beyond reach, but Coronel again scored valuable world championship points by finishing fourth.
Of course, I didn't have a lot of mileage with the car and I am learning new things in every lap I drive with the car. I ended up eighth as the second Chevy driver behind my team-mate. I really had a good feeling with the car and I was happy with it. I still have to get used to the turbo at the start and the power, which explains the wheelspin on the first few metres. After that, the first race was quite boring. I had some battles with my team-mate (Tom Chilton, ed.) but he had to turn into the pits with damage to the bonnet of his car. With very consistent laps, I managed to maintain my eighth place without any problems.
The guys in front of me were too far away and the drivers behind me didn't close up. There wasn't much action in this race and my car was good for the second race. That was the race in which I wanted to score. I was third on the grid, on the second row, and I hoped for a good start, but there was nothing I could do against Tiago Monteiro's rocket start. The three guys in front of me were gone pretty soon and two Citroëns closed up behind me. I didn't want to give them any presents and I fought for what I was worth. On the limit, and sometimes a little bit beyond it.
Yvan Muller really tried everything. He looked right, he looked left, put his car alongside mine, tried to outbrake me, but I succeeded in keeping him at bay. Always keep looking and anticipating on what they were going to do. I really enjoyed it and I am proud of the result we have achieved. Thus, I also scored my first world championship points of the season and we want to continue from here. My team-mate will be testing extensively on Tuesday and I hope that some things will come out of that to make us faster.
It is all about very small things that can help us improve. At next week's circuit, the Slovakia Ring, I won the second race last year. Repeating that result would be great, of course, but depends on many things. I am really looking forward to it, especially now that I have such a good feeling with the car again."
Result Race 1: 1. Yvan Muller 14 laps in 25:57.292; 2. Jose Maria Lopez +1.282 (both Citroen Racing C-Elysee); 3. Tiago Monteiro +8.961; 4. Gabriele Tarquini +13.890 (both Honda Civic); 5. Mehdi Bennani (Proteam Chevrolet Cruze) +14.747 and 8. Tom Coronel (ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze) +22.863.
Result Race 2: 1. Gianni Morbidelli (All-Inkl Chevrolet Cruze) 14 laps; 2. Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic) +0.350; 3. Hugo Valente (Campos Chevrolet Cruze) +1.206; 4. Tom Coronel (Roal Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze) +5.104; 5. Yvan Muller +5.435 and 6. Jose Maria Lopez +5.605 (both Citroen Racing C-Elysee).