Tom Coronel gets maximum result from Valencia races Valencia, September 19th, 2010 - "Actually, you should deduct ten places from the two results, and then you know that a podium finish certainly would have been within reach." That was Tom ...
Tom Coronel gets maximum result from Valencia races
Valencia, September 19th, 2010 - "Actually, you should deduct ten places from the two results, and then you know that a podium finish certainly would have been within reach." That was Tom Coronel's comment after the two races of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at the Valencia circuit. Following an engine chance, Coronel had to start from 16th instead of sixth place into the first race with his SEAT Leon TDI in the colours of McGregor and TW Steel. In the first race, Coronel finished tenth. In the second race, he was classified ninth. "In these conditions, that was the maximum possible result," the driver said.
"It is always nice to be here." Tom Coronel visibly felt well in Valencia, the Spanish coastal city with its modern architecture, its nice harbour district and its excellent opportunities to go out. The nice weather in Valencia did the rest, making the last European WTCC event of this season a success. However, not everything was perfect, because the weekend started off with bad news for Tom Coronel: during the final test of his car prior to the weekend, there turned out to be an oil leak in the engine. This made an engine change unavoidable, and that meant that Coronel dropped ten places on the starting grid for the first race, according to the WTCC regulations. "On Thursday, I was at Circuit Park Zandvoort for the presentation of the book by Rob Kamphues on his season in the SEAT Leon Eurocup last year, and there, I got the news by SMS from my team boss," said Coronel. "Of course, it was bad news, because dropping ten grid positions means that you are almost without a chance of getting a good result. But that is just the way regulations are and that can happen."
Fastest time in second free practice
In spite of this setback, Tom Coronel started his work highly motivated, as ever, in order to still score the best result possible. In first free practice, early on Saturday morning, he set a lap time of 1:46.179 minutes, the tenth fastest time of the 21 participants. Around noon, Coronel even managed to establish the outright fastest lap time with his SEAT Leon TDI: with 1:44.537 minutes, he was more than one tenth of a second ahead of the second fastest driver and six tenths of a second faster than the third fastest. "Things are going well. We have the set-up of the car right and everything is working as planned," Coronel reported afterwards. "I am also pretty confident for qualifying."
Best qualifying result of the season
In the first qualifying heat, Coronel set a lap time of 1:44.789 minutes, which put him in fourth place. In the subsequent second heat, he set a personal fastest lap time of 1:44.525 minutes, ranking sixth. "On my fastest lap, I made a slight mistake in the second corner after which I lost some time, but as a whole, things went well. Initially, I was quite glad when I came out of the car, because a place on the third row of the grid is not bad. But then, I realised again that I had to drop ten places, so I would be starting only 16th." Still, the sixth fastest time was his best qualifying result of the season.
Excellent start into race 1
In warm-up on Sunday morning, Coronel ended up eleventh with a lap time of 1:45.363 minutes. In the first race, he had an excellent start after which he moved up from 16th to tenth place right away. "The start was perfect and I was also really quick in the first two laps, but after three laps, I had a lot of wear on the front tyres," said Coronel. "That also became apparent by the lap times, because I did laps of 1:48 minutes, four seconds slower than in qualifying. I locked up under braking twice, losing one place each time. Thus, I eventually ended up tenth."
Because of the tyre problems in the first race, Coronel decided to change the set-up of the car for the second race, together with his team. "That indeed led to the result we wanted, because the road-holding of the car was much better in race two. On top of that, it occurred after the race that one of the injectors of the engine didn't work, so that I was lacking speed in race one. In race two, my start was rather poor, after which I got stuck behind Nykjaer. I was much quicker, but I couldn't find a way past, which was to be expected due to the track characteristics at Valencia. I locked up once under braking on the penultimate lap. Due to that, Farfus was able to overtake me and I finished ninth."
Looking forward to Asia
With four races remaining, two at Okayama in Japan and two at the Macau street circuit, Coronel is in eighth place of the drivers' standings. "In fact, I had expected a podium finish here, but after dropping ten places on the grid, I knew beforehand that that would be impossible. Now, I am looking forward to the races in Asia. At Okayama, I won two years ago and Macau is my favourite circuit, so I am really eager to go to Asia!"
Next races: Okayama (Japan), October 31st