Suzuka The tenth race weekend, but even more importantly the 199th and 200th race in history of the FIA WTCC, took place on the short circuit of Suzuka in Japan. Here, Tom Coronel scored an impressive victory in the second race with his ROAL Motorsport BMW 320 TC.
In the second half of the race, the 41-year old Dutch driver took the lead and went on to claim his third race win in his beloved Japan. Thus, the clever strategy in practice and the best use of the new tyres he had available worked out in an optimal way. This race win in the FIA WTCC promotes Tom Coronel to eighth place in the drivers’ standings with 143 points.
“If there ever was one race I wanted to win this year, it was this one. In Japan, where I already had so much success, where the people still support me in a massive way and where the passion for motorsport is still very much alive. Winning the 200th WTCC race is just fantastic,” Coronel said, also having participated in all these races. He continues: “This is really what it is all about. Fantastic! I was already on the pace in the free practice sessions and in qualifying, we made the best use of the new set of tyres we still had available after the event in the United States.
In top 12 qualifying, we took the risk of trying to get up as high as possible in the reversed starting grid order for the second race. That worked out perfectly with ninth place that put me on the front row of the grid. It was tense, because I had set my time quite early and there were quite a few drivers still on track towards the end of the session. But it worked out: part one of the strategy completed.”
“For the first race, we used an almost new set of tyres. I made a good start and battled with Thompson’s Lada and a couple of SEATs. They were faster on the straights, but I caught up in the twisty part every lap. There also was plenty of action in front of us and my only thought was to make it to the finish without any damage and score the necessary points.
That worked out, and we moved on to the second race. Bennani opted for a different strategy and, just like in race one, ran with less rear wing. Initially, this made him a little bit faster, but also put more load on his tyres.