Eventful weekend for Tom Coronel at Valencia
The results from yesterday's qualifying session at Valencia once more proved that the FIA World Touring Car Championship is extremely competitive. SEAT Team Holland driver Tom Coronel ended up in 17th place, a somewhat disappointing result. However after taking a closer look at the timesheets it was shown that the first nineteen drivers were within one second of polesitter James Thompson's time.
In the morning warm-up Tom was back in the top 8, which made him a bit more confident for the two races of today. In both races Tom made a great start, made up a lot of positions and was racing for a good result. Sadly on both occasions he was hit in the final stages of the race and ended up in the back of the field.
"If you just look at the results one could think that I am an unhappy person, but that is far from the truth. Of course I would have preferred to leave the circuit with a bag full of championship points, but the end results do not justify the races of today. It seemed like I had a big sign on the bumper of the car saying 'please hit me here!'",Coronel said.
At their home event SEAT is always out to perform a bit extra to do well, and I certainly was up there at the beginning of the weekend. In free practice we were always in the top 10. However in qualifying I did not get the best of my first two sets of tyres. It was my own mistake, so I was extra motivated to go for an all-out attack on my third and final run. I was slipstreaming with SEAT Sport driver Jordi Gene and it really felt like a mega-quick time, which the team confirmed to me over the radio. However it was somewhat frightening to learn that I was only in 17th position with this seemly perfect lap. I as only 6/10 of a second slower than the guy on pole, but still so far back down on the grid. It certainly proves the competitiveness of this championship. I don't know that many championships that can match this. The start of the first race was very good for me. I chose the inside line at the moment that a couple of cars collided on the first lap and I went through without any problems. At that stage I had already moved up to tenth place and I was fighting with Jorg Muller. I decided to let him go by in order to create some more room for myself. I worked out quite well until I came up to Stefano d'Aste. He was slower than me, but there was just no place to overtake him. Meanwhile there were some more cars behind me joining the d'Aste train. It all went wrong when Hernandez spun right in front of us. D'Aste and I went of and Farfus tried to avoid it all, but he hit me and damaged my front suspension. With one more lap to go it made an end to my race".
After the quick repair by the GR-Asia crew Tom Coronel started the second race. Despite not finishing the first race Tom did not have to start completely from behind. The cars that dropped out in the opening lap of race 1 were still behind him. "I had another good start and by choosing the right lines, especially in the opening stages of the race, I gained some places. Halfway into the race the battle became tougher. I was hit from behind and I lost my rear bumper there. Rob Huff made his presence clear and caused some panic when he went off and came back onto the track. Furthermore Felix Porteiro and Gabriele Tarquini were attacking me. They tried to brake a bit later in order to catch me, which obviously went wrong. My rear suspension was damaged and my race was over in the final stages. Despite not getting the results I aimed for I had two really nice close competitive races.