SEAT Driver Tom Coronel just misses out on points at Estoril
For Tom Coronel the race weekend at Estoril in Portugal started off as planned. His SEAT Team Holland Leon was fitted with a brand new two litre petrol engine, which he used to move up to sixth place in the first free practice session. In the second session he even moved up one place more. However qualifying is when it really matters and most drivers managed to squeeze out some extra seconds from the car. Tom Coronel took tenth place in his SEAT Leon TFSi, prepared by the Spanish SunRed team. The two races that were held on Sunday went over twelve laps and brought a 10th and a 12th place finish for the Dutch driver.
Tom Coronel had and improved engine at his disposal this weekend at Estoril. "Of course it is good to have some extra power", Coronel said. "This engine gives some more power especially in the range above 6000 revs. Furthermore we were allowed to take out 15 kg of weight from of the car, but unfortunately we managed to get out only 8 kilos. The tuner of the engine was closely following our proceedings and all the time he was monitoring the data and making changes to the settings. We still have some work to do and he knows it. Before the weekend started I said I would be happy to be the top 10. This worked out fine in free practice and qualifying. In the race I had notably more power in the top end, but in order to really take up the battle for the championship points we also need to have some more power in the lower ranges. With some changes to the exhaust system and the engine, combined with further weight reduction we should have some more torque the next time around.
The first race started with a lot of contact. On the first lap I already received a lot of 'pushing support' causing me to drop back a bit from the leaders. However I had a big fight with Jorg Muller in one of the factory BMWs. Despite my defensive lines he managed to find a gap to get bye just before the end of the race. In the second race I had a similar fight with Alex Zanardi. A fair and hard battle in which I could stay ahead of him and Alain Menu in the works Chevrolet. Gabriele Tarquini was ahead of me with his Diesel powered works SEAT Leon, but he was just too quick for me. Anyway we are a bit closer to scoring points and we are looking forward to make some more progress. The next race will be at Brands Hatch in two weeks time and with the changes we have in mind championship points will be a realistic goal there.