Great season start for Carly Motors Tom Coronel leads the Independents rankings "The season has finally started". That's what Carly Motors driver Tom Coronel said just before he went to Italy for the first round of the European Touringcar ...
Great season start for Carly Motors
Tom Coronel leads the Independents rankings
"The season has finally started". That's what Carly Motors driver Tom Coronel said just before he went to Italy for the first round of the European Touringcar Championship at the Monza circuit. At that moment he couldn't predict how successful the weekend would be for both him and the Carly Motors team.
The Carly Motors team, with Tom Coronel as an experienced ETCC driver and Paulien Zwart as a championship Rookie, will run two BMW 320i cars, both updated to the latest "2004 specs". For Tom the ETCC is not a new class. "We were successful last year in the independents cup. I think the championship is very challenging for both the material and the driver. But the Carly Motors team is racing this championship for many years now so I am very confident that we will be successful this year again".
Tom will be racing his BMW 320i next to Paulien Zwart. The 26-year-old Paulien is experienced in Dutch national race classes, but never raced a touringcar at this level. "I hope I can use the first part of the season to learn about the car and to keep up with the pace. I hope to be more competitive in four races, but that requires patience. It is said to be my weakest point", said Paulien.
The ETCC is a part of the "LG Super Racing Weekend" with extensive TV coverage on Eurosport throughout Europe.
Tom qualified on a 9th position, and as fastest independent driver. "I have to say that I am very satisfied with this result. The team worked very hard to prepare this competitive car, worked for two nights straight, and were part of this good position. When I went on the track for my fast laps, I could profit from a slipstream behind the cars of Priaulx and Garcia. I don't know if they were happy about it, but I was!"
Paulien made her debut in the series with the qualification. Without enough testing it seemed to be a hard task to be competitive. "I was able to improve my lap times several times and it sounds weird, but I was happy not to qualify last! " said an enthusiastic Paulien. "20th was the best I could get out of my first qualifying session."
For Tom race one was a matter of survival. "There was an accident at the start of the race so we were behind the safetycar for 3 laps. I had some nice fights with Frank Diefenbacher in the Seat. He was able to overtake me, putting me to the 8th position in the race. But in the last lap I was able to get back at P7 and finished like that."
In race one, Paulien had a lonely journey behind Simon Harrison. "My start was ok, considering the fact that I didn't practise one, but the race itself was not too exiting."
Like last year, the starting grid of race two, is the reversed finishing order of race one. That means that Frank Diefenbacher started race 2 from pole, next to Tom who could start from P2. "To be honest, I forgot that rule, while finishing race one. It was nice to hear that I could start race two from P2. Tom was first into the first corner and, despite pressure from Jörg Müller and Dirk Müller, managed to hang onto this lead until the end of lap one, but on lap two Jorg got by. "I promised to lead the race for at least the first lap and I succeeded in that." Tom is very satisfied with the car. "The car feels very good. Except from some adjustments to be made to the bakes I think we will be competitive again next race."
For Paulien race two started with a good start again and was able to keep up with Rydell in the Seat. "I could follow the Seat of Rydell quite some time. Later on in the race I had a fair fight with Toni R. Ruokonen in his Honda until the end of the race."
After all the Carly Motors Team is very satisfied with the result this weekend. With Tom scoring the maximum of 20 points in the Independents Trophy and Paulien being able to score points in that championship too, the season started very well.