Hectic FIA WTCC weekend for Tom Coronel in Pau Hardly ever was a race weekend more hectic for SEAT Team Holland driver Tom Coronel than the fourth round of the FIA WTCC 2009. The World Touring Car Championship went from Marrakech to the French...
Hectic FIA WTCC weekend for Tom Coronel in Pau
Hardly ever was a race weekend more hectic for SEAT Team Holland driver Tom Coronel than the fourth round of the FIA WTCC 2009. The World Touring Car Championship went from Marrakech to the French city of Pau for it's first European round on the season. For Coronel it seemed to be a more than successful weekend. Both in free practice and in qualifying Coronel was right up to it. Initially the Dutchman put his SUNRED prepared SEAT Leon TFSi on third place of the grid for the first race. However between qualifying and the race the officials decided to take away the qualifying times of nine drivers, including Coronel, as they had exceeded the maximum rev limit. Therefore Tom Coronel dropped back to sixth place on the grid for the first race. This race ended for Coronel with a ninth place and an overheated engine. Participation in the second race seemed hardly impossible, but in the short time available the SUNRED crew managed to change the engine, and helped by the mayhem at the start of the second race, Tom Coronel was able to participate, although he was one lap down. A classification in the back of the field was the only reachable result. The only positive thing was that by changing the engine now in stead of changing it for the next race was that he saved himself from a 10 position drop on the grid in Valencia.
"The good news since the last race was that I moved up a spot in the results of the second race at Marrakech due to disqualification of another driver. This brought me an extra point for he championship. Also in Pau things were looking good. Street circuits are my kind of track and it showed already in the first meters. I was always in the top five and in qualifying I even was on provisional pole for a long time. Due to strict interpretation of the rules the diesel powered Leons were further behind than usual. This also made me the fastest SEAT runner. Thus far everything was looking great and we were confident of a good result. However the discussions about the regulations also hurt us. A rule that nobody had looked at in the past, was now checked very strictly. This cost me three places on the grid", Tom Coronel said afterwards.
Right after the start of the first race Larini hit me about five times in the back, which made me hit Priaulx. This caused the radiator to break and engine temperatures run op to 120 degrees Celcius. At that moment I was still leading the privateers battle, so I went for the Independents win. My main rival, Felix Porteiro was closing in behind me and decided to make a move on me. He pushed me wide in a right hander causing not only himself, but also fellow Independent Engstler to get by in the final lap of the race. With this the chance of starting the second race from the front row was also gone. This was really useless. Porteiro was disqualified for his move and the only winner was Engstler who benefitted from it all. After that things were getting excited as the engine was a total loss. In the limited time available the SUNRED crew did their utmost to take out the old engine and mount a new one. The crew did a fabulous job so our damage in time was limited. It has to be said that we were helped a bit by the incidents on the track right after the start, but it was still an impressive job. We decided to change the engine in order to prevent a penalty in the next race. We had to change it anyway so it made sense to do it now to minimize the damage. The race itself was far from easy. The throttle got stuck, so I was forced to change my driving tactics. All in all it was a heavy weekend that not brought us the results we wanted. There was definitely more in it for us, but due to several circumstances it did not work out. Let's hope our bad luck stops here", Tom Coronel concluded.