A strong recovery by BMW driver Tom Coronel in Slovakian FIA WTCC races
Bratislava, April 29th, 2012 – The Slovakia Ring near Bratislava was the venue for the seventh and eighth round of the 2012 FIA WTCC, the World Touring Car Championship in which Tom Coronel is racing the ROAL Motorsport BMW 320 TC. Contrarily to the previous races in this competition, the 40-year old Dutch driver had a disappointing qualifying. This explained his 13th starting grid position for the first race at the challenging circuit that Tom described as beautiful. In the ten lap race, the Dutchman managed to move up to eighth place. In the second race, Coronel had a more than perfect start, which allowed Coronel to charge from twelfth to sixth place. After that, the BMW driver kept the pressure up and continued his progress to finish fourth, which was all he could do. After the race, Tom Coronel had to report to the stewards of the meeting to explain his role in a collision with another driver in the first race. In the championship standings, Coronel strengthened his fourth place.
Tom Coronel about the weekend: “First of all, the circuit. We had never raced here before and I found it fantastic. There is a jump before turn three and a couple of long, fast corners and it is a nice and long circuit which allows for great slipstream manoeuvres.
However, that didn’t work out like we had planned in qualifying. Initially, we were on the pace and I was fifth when coming into the pits for a fresh set of tyres. Just when I was on the track for my second outing and looking for a good slipstream, the red flags were out. After that, I couldn’t do anything more and I was 13th. Too bad! In the race, we were curious to find out what the BMW would be up to.
For this weekend, we got 20 kilograms of handicap weight on board and now have the maximum ballast of 40 kilograms, just like the Chevrolets. You really feel that extra weight and the first race was a disaster. I had massive understeer and lack of traction when accelerating out of the corners. It was just a matter of surviving and trying to keep my position.
Once, I locked up under braking and hit Engstler’s BMW. He spun and I was summoned to the stewards after the race because of that. Because of the problems in qualifying, we did have a set of new tyres left for the second race. The start was perfect. In the early stages, I was slightly hit by Tiago Monteiro, went through the grass briefly, but fortunately could continue. After that, I nicely found my way through traffic to move up to the front. The car felt well and I was able to do the things I wanted to do. The front runners were just a little bit too far away and I couldn’t catch them, but I managed to defend my position, although it became more and more difficult in the last five laps. However, I managed and the points are there again.”