Curitiba: Tom Coronel weekend summary

Strong opening of FIA WTCC season for Tom Coronel As in the past few years the Brazilian city of Curitiba hosted the start of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. The first two races of the season brought a ninth and an eighth place in the ...

Strong opening of FIA WTCC season for Tom Coronel

As in the past few years the Brazilian city of Curitiba hosted the start of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. The first two races of the season brought a ninth and an eighth place in the overall rankings for Tom Coronel. With this he also took 16 points for the Yokohama Independents Trophy, in which he is now second and one point for the general standings. This year the Dutch driver will again fight for the independents crown, which he won before in 2006. The changeable weather put its mark on the outcome of these first two races of 2009. The first one was held in the dry, but in the second race the rain came pouring down from time to time.

The SunRed team completely rebuilt the SEAT Leon TFSi over the winter. "They really took the whole car apart, checked it all and put it back together", Tom Coronel says. "However there was no time to do a shake down test in order to check the car. Basically we did it during free practice and we also got the small problems you normally have during a shake down. When I went out for the first time I was eager to do a good lap and when I look back this must have been the best lap of the weekend. After that I got all sorts of small problems. A broken fuel hose, an oil leak in the clutch system and a problem with the gearbox software. Because of the latter I had to use the clutch during the gear shifts, which costs some time. I think I could have been 5/10ths of a second quicker in qualifying. 18th place on the grid is definitely not where we belong.

"The first race went fairly well. I moved up some places and I was behind my main opponent for the Independents Trophy. This time he was just a bit too quick so I stayed behind him and finished ninth overall and second in the independents battle. At the start of the second race it was raining very hard and everybody came to me to ask what tyres I would use. Last year I won my first race due to an unusual tyre choice, but for this race there was no other option than to use full wets on all of the wheels. I like racing in the wet, so the huge amount of water coming down was not too much of a problem for me. Fortunately I came around the first few corners without too much drama and I was immediately closing up on the leading group of cars. I even moved up some places, but later on I lost those positions again. Felix Porteiro, my main rival for the Independents Trophy, started from pole position, but dropped back. In the second half of the race he was right in front of me and I tried to force him into a mistake, but it didn't work out. So I can go back home with a double second place in the Independents Trophy and one point for the overall championship. Not bad when you consider that the car that I have is 55kg heavier than last year. This is all due to the new regulations. After the second race the weight rules will be reconsidered. For now this was the maximum possible result and I am really looking forward to the next round in Mexico in two weeks time", Tom Coronel said.

Tom Coronel is supported by : SEAT Nederland, TW Steel watches, McGregor, Saarloos and Olympia Staffing

-credit: tc

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Tom Coronel , Felix Porteiro