Marrakech once again becomes 'Marracrash' for Coronel: A pair of retirements on the tight, twisty street
Marrakech – The almost 4.6 kilometres long Moulay El Hassan street circuit in Marrakech was the venue for the third and fourth race of the 2015 FIA World Touring Car Championship season. Last year, Tom Coronel incurred massive damage here and now he was all the more keen to score a good result. With his ROAL Motorsport Cruze in DHL yellow, the Dutchman frequently was the fastest Chevrolet driver and he was confident going into qualifying.
First qualifying went well, but while out on track with his second set of tyres in the second qualifying heat, a metallic noise in the car worried him. There was an issue with the airjacks, the hydraulic jack system underneath the car. Nevertheless, Coronel qualified ninth on the grid for the first race and benefited from technical problems for some other drivers. Thus, the 43-year old Dutch driver eventually started sixth on the grid. His race, however, was a brief affair.
On the opening lap, Coronel's ROAL Motorsport team-mate Tom Chilton missed his braking point and all that was left for Coronel was to head back to the pits to have the car repaired for the second race. In that race, he was to start from the front row of the grid, so he had chances to score valuable world championship points. Coronel had a good start, didn't take any risks, but was hit by Norbert Michelisz and sent into the wall. Thus, he twice incurred damage caused by other drivers and the car was heavily damaged. Currently, it is still uncertain whether the car can be repaired in time for the official test day at the Nürburgring and the next round in Hungary from 1-3 May.
Afterwards, Tom Coronel was understandably disappointed: "This is not funny anymore. I am a positively thinking person and I know that something can always happen during a race, but being punted off twice without being able to do anything about it is really disappointing. In the first race, it was my team-mate who was at least five car lengths behind me and simply braked too late. He apologised afterwards, but that didn't help me either. There was pretty big damage to the right front side of the car and the team did everything to have that repaired in time for the second race. In that race, I had a good start. Perhaps, it didn't look like it, but to me it felt good. However, once again, it didn't take long for be to be hit by Michelisz. He ran into the back of my car and kept pushing. For me, it all ended up in the wall with massive damage to the front end. For me, it is more 'Marracrash' than Marrakech. Let's hope that the damage can be repaired in time."
The weekend had started in a positive way...
Tom Coronel: "Everything really looked set for a great weekend. The practice sessions and first qualifying went well. Frequently, I was the fastest Chevrolet driver, but then I started hearing a metallic noise while out with fresh tyres. Initially, I thought that it was the gearbox, the differential or the clutch, but eventually, the problem turned out to be in the airjacks. I couldn't continue and just hope for things to still work out for me. Ninth place on the grid for race one and second place for race two was something I was very happy with. Technical problems for other drivers even allowed me to start sixth into the first race. Unfortunately, that lasted only two kilometres!"
Result race 1
1.José Maria López 14 laps in 24:31.802; 2.Ma Qing Hua +0.942; 3.Sébastien Loeb +4.492; 4.Mehdi Bennani +5.405; 5.Yvan Muller +21.617 (all Citroën Racing C-Elysée); 6.Tiago Monteiro op 22.986 (Honda Civic WTCC) and retired Tom Coronel (ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze).
Result race 2
1.Yvan Muller 14 laps; 2.Sébastien Loeb +0.552; 3.José Maria López +18.113 (all Citroën Racing C-Elysée); 4.Tom Chilton +22.754 (ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze); 5. Hugo Valente +26.490 (Campos Chevrolet Cruze); 6. Norbert Michelisz +37.677 (Honda Civic WTCC) and retired Tom Coronel (ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze).