SEAT-driver Tom Coronel ends FIA-WTCC season with a fifth place
The final round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship 2007 unfolded as a real thriller. At the start of the first of the two races there were still six drivers in contention for the championship. In the end it all came down again to Andy Priaulx, who took his third consecutive world title. Tom Coronel upheld his tradition of good performances at Macau. From the beginning of the weekend the Dutchman was up with the best, although his 13th place in qualifying was not really representing his form thus far. The SEAT Team Holland driver did not catch a good slipstream and suffered from traffic on his qualifying runs. This also explained his disappointing 15th place in the first race. The second race of the day was far better for Coronel. After a solid race the Dutchman finished in fifth place .
Due to his experience at the treacherous street circuit Tom Coronel knew that he had to save his car at the beginning of the weekend. "I used the first session to check the car. The GR-Asia engineers mounted a fresh, but more importantly, stronger engine with a higher compression rate. Due to this we also received an extra weight handicap of 20 kilos for this weekend. Despite that I managed to get a good slipstream from Andy Priaulx and set the second fastest time in the second free practice session. Before that I was always in the top six, so we did quite well. Perhaps that's why I suffered a bit more in the other sessions. People saw we were competitive and feared I could help SEAT Sport's title contender Yvan Muller. Although I made one mistake on my own I was repeatedly blocked by others on my qualifying runs. Thirteenth place was all I could get out of qualifying. That's a shame to be honest, because it is really difficult to move up from there. Last year I was sixth and when you don't run into problems you just know you have a good chance to make it to the podium. Now I was fighting with people that had all kinds of objectives varying from winning the world title to preventing others from winning the world title. I had a good start and I was heading to the first corner with Priaulx and Rydell. Priaulx was able to pass without problems, but I got stuck behind one of the BMWs. I was trying to get bye and I could see that my Leon was faster on most parts of the track, but I just lacked that extra bit of top speed that you need to overtake on the straights. With this situation it was not possible to improve and I ended the race in 15th place. Fortunately the second race went far better. Although I was in the middle of a group of BMWs I had a good start and I was able to improve a lot of places under braking for the Lisboa corner. Now I was closing up on the frontrunners and I was able to catch them one by one. A fine fifth place meant a nice ending to an exciting season in the FIA WTCC. I want to thank our sponsors, and of course SEAT and the GR Asia team for making it all possible and giving me a competitive car. We ended the championship in 13th place overall with 29 points and with the given situation it is not bad. After all we were in the same league as the works teams, but we are not a fully backed works outfit, and neither privateers. We were in between the two groups and a classification like this fits with it. Let's hope we can continue our upgoing trend in 2008!", Tom Coronel concluded.