Imola: Tom Coronel weekend summary

Great weekend for McGregor SEAT-driver Tom Coronel in FIA WTCC battle Before the FIA WTCC race weekend at Imola in Italy SEAT Team Holland driver Tom Coronel was not too optimistic about his chances to score points. This appeared to be a mistake...

Great weekend for McGregor SEAT-driver Tom Coronel in FIA WTCC battle Before the FIA WTCC race weekend at Imola in Italy SEAT Team Holland driver Tom Coronel was not too optimistic about his chances to score points. This appeared to be a mistake as, despite his 16th starting postition, the Dutch driver managed to finish the 13 lap race in fifth place overall, while taking victory in the Yokohama Independents Trophy at the same time. This brought him a place on the second row of the start grid. The standing start of the second race went fairly well for the Dutchman, but in the opening stages some of the works drivers behind him appeared to be stronger and managed to overtake him. Especially on the straigts the petrol powered SEAT Leon was not at its strongest, which explains the 14th place of Tom Coronel in this race. In his own rankings, the one for the privateer drivers, Coronel took fourth place and with this valuable points for the Independents Trophy. Tom is still leading this championship and now has a margin of 29 points on second placed driver Felix Porteiro. For this race and the ones to follow in Japan, his familiar orange / white / black livery has been replaced with the dark blue of fashion brand McGregor, the company that has enabled him to drive the final two rounds of the season in Okayama and Macau.

"I knew from previous races that we would get a difficult time here at Imola. The characteristics do no suit our petrol powered Leon TFSi. In qualifying I missed a good slipstream, so I could do no better than 17th on the grid. This became 16th due to Alain Menu dropping back from 10th to 20th after an engine change. Still this was far more to the back than I wanted. However usually at the first corner there is a lot of action, so I was prepared for some problems ahead of me. When it all happened I opted for the safe way to avoid it all, which was through the gravel trap. Fortunately I had enough speed to get though and when I rejoined the track I was counting the cars in front of me. I had to count twice to ensure that I was actually in fourth place. Behind me was Alex Zanardi, who had taken the same escape route as I did. Later on he benefitted from a small mistake that I made, so I dropped back to fifth. Considering my expectations for this race the result was super, especially for my position in the Independents Trophy. By finishing fifth overall I not only took the maximum points for the win in the Independents Trophy, but also the bonus points for finishing in the top 8. So all in all a good result for me, but a I also have to thank James Thompson. He not only scored an excellent result in the Lada by taking sixth place right behind me but at the same time he was involved in a big battle. Largely due to his defensive tactics he kept them behind, so I also did not have any threath from them. Even after the safety car situation I did not have any stress from behind", a relieved Tom Coronel said.

The second race usually starts with a standing start. Normally this is not to my advantage as the Turbo Diesel Leons and the BMWs have a better traction of the line. Despite all this my start was not too bad. However on the straight line the works drivers were just quicker than me and caught me on top speed. The handling of my SEAT Leon was OK, but the top speed was just not there. 14th overall and 4th for the Independents Trophy was all I could do. Still it was a great weekend for me. I expected nothing and I go home with a trophy and a bigger margin in the championship than I had before. All in all a great weekend", Tom Coronel concludes.

Tom Coronel is supported by SEAT Nederland, TW Steel big in oversized watches, McGregor fashion, Beelen Demolition works, Saarloos Automotive and Olympia Staffing.

-credit: tc

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Alex Zanardi , Tom Coronel , James Thompson , Felix Porteiro , Alain Menu