ETCC: Monza: Tom Coronel race summaries

Double victory for Tom Coronel in Independents Trophy ETCC Tom Coronel started off his FIA European Touring Car Championship season 2004 well with a double victory in the Michelin Independents Trophy. The Dutchman put his car ninth on the grid...

Double victory for Tom Coronel in Independents Trophy ETCC

Tom Coronel started off his FIA European Touring Car Championship season 2004 well with a double victory in the Michelin Independents Trophy. The Dutchman put his car ninth on the grid in qualifying at Monza. During the first race Coronel managed to improve to seventh in the end and best of the privateers which put him on the first row for the start of the second race. Despite starting from the front Tom lost the unequal fight with some of the factory supported drivers and dropped back to fifth place with his Carly Motors prepared BMW 320i, again best of the privateers. In the same Super Racing Weekend Tom Coronel started in the FIA GT series driving a Lister Storm GT. Coronel started well from fifth place and moved up to fourth. However a technical failure made a premature end to his race.

The first of the LG Super Racing Weekends took place at Monza. Tom Coronel will drive all of the ETCC and FIA GT races this year. His participation was confirmed relatively late which explains some of the preparation work that still needed to be done. "With the Lister we started off with a lot of bad luck. One of my teammates damaged the car in free practice. The Lister crew needed all their time to fix the car for qualifying. This meant that we did not have enough tracktime to optimize the setup of the car. Also in the second session I did just two or three laps. The new regulations say that every driver needs to qualify, so that's why I couldn't do more laps. The race itself however went quite well from the start. I came from fifth place and I knew that the Ferraris would be quicker in the early stages. After about 15 laps you can see that the Lister is catching up as the handling is much better. I was closing in all the time on the leaders. Unfortunately a water hose broke which brought an end to our race. For us things can only get better as we will have a brand new Lister Storm for the next race at Valencia in three weeks time. The new Storm not only has more downforce, but also a stronger engine which is quite promising!" Tom said.

Also with BMW the decision to participate was a late one. Because of this the Carly Motors team had to work night and day to prepare the two cars for Tom Coronel and Paulien Zwart. "I am driving the car that Duncan used last year to win the Independents Trophy. However the car has been upgraded to the 2004 spec. Qualifying on Saturday went quite well. I got a slipstream from some other BMW drivers and was eight for a while. I lost that place to Alessandro Zanardi, who overtook me after I helped him with a slipstream. At the start I lost two places, but I took one back the the first corner. After the first lap there was a safety car and because Frank Diefenbacher was sleeping at the re-start we lost contact with the leaders. In the end I was battling for seventh place with him. On the last lap I overtook him which gave me seventh. As the top eight finishers from the first race start in reverse order for the second I started from the first row with Diefenbacher. I came from the line well and was leading in the first corner. Fellow BMW driver Jörg Müller was pushing a lot however so I let him by and decided to pick his slipstream. Later on more factory drivers started to push me. I chose to play safe and consolidate my first place in the Independents Trophy. Overall I finished in fifth place which is quite well, but most important is a double victory in the Michelin Independents Trophy, which is our goal for this year with Carly Motors", Tom Coronel said.

The next LG Super Racing Weekend will take place on 18 April at Valencia (Spain). Tom Coronel is supported this year by McGregor, Autocentrum Beelen, BBS, and Apex.

-tc-

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Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Tom Coronel , Jorg Muller , Frank Diefenbacher , Paulien Zwart