Brands Hatch: Tom Coronel Sunday report

Tom Coronel scores very well at Brands Hatch Brands Hatch, July 18th, 2010 - "I would have signed up for this result immediately," said Tom Coronel after the sixth race meeting of the season in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at...

Tom Coronel scores very well at Brands Hatch

Brands Hatch, July 18th, 2010 - "I would have signed up for this result immediately," said Tom Coronel after the sixth race meeting of the season in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at the circuit of Brands Hatch in the UK. At the former Grand Prix circuit, located south-east of London, the Dutch driver ended up fifth in the first race and fourth in the second race with his SEAT Leon TDI sporting the colours of McGregor and TW Steel. Thus, he scored valuable championship points in both races, allowing him to move up to sixth place in the overall standings.

"Brands Hatch certainly is one of my favourite circuits," said Coronel before the event. Here, he had his first WTCC race with the SEAT Leon four years ago after having raced the SEAT Toledo before. A nice surprise, which only materialised on Friday afternoon, was that his twin brother Tim Coronel was also racing in the WTCC at Brands Hatch. "Tim got the chance to drive for the Engstler team after the team's regular second driver, Romanov, couldn't enter the UK due to visa problems," Tom Coronel explained. "Tim was here anyway because he would compete in the SEAT Leon Eurocup, and that was how he came to drive in WTCC, too. This again shows how things can sometimes happen quite spontaneously." It wasn't the first time for the twin brothers to race in WTCC together as they already did to at the circuit of Brno in the Czech Republic last year, both driving a SEAT at the time.

Contrarily to the two previous rounds at the circuits of Zolder and Portimao, both venues being new additions to the WTCC calendar, Brands Hatch was familiar territory for teams and drivers from the WTCC. This meant that there wasn't a test session on Friday and the action started with first free practice on Saturday morning. Tom Coronel only arrived in the UK late on Friday evening after a busy test session with a Porsche at Circuit Park Zandvoort on Friday. "I did a lot of driving this week, because we also had a test with the Porsche on Tuesday, which went very well," Coronel reported.

In first free practice, he was eleventh fastest with a lap time of 1:34.405 minutes, while in second free practice, he was classified sixth with a lap time of 1:34.051 minutes. This made him the second fastest SEAT driver. "The free practice sessions went according to plan. There were no problems, the speed was there and that makes us optimistic for qualifying," Coronel said after the two heats.

Coronel is allowed to start from sixth place

In the first heat of qualifying, Coronel was among the top ten, which would have automatically qualified him to take part in the second heat for the ten fastest drivers. However, in the final seconds, he was toppled from the top ten. Still, he was allowed to start in the second heat a few minutes later as, all of a sudden, not ten, but eleven drivers were taking part. What had happened? Coronel: "That was because of Robert Dahlgren, a guest driver who took part here, but is not eligible to score championship points. Just in case Dahlgren would have been among the top ten, the clerks of the course wanted to admit eleven cars for the second heat to make sure that there would be ten regular WTCC drivers. Eventually, Dahlgren didn't make it into the top ten at all, but they still admitted eleven cars, so that I was able to have a run, too." Coronel eventually set the seventh fastest time, but was even allowed to start the race from sixth place because Andy Priaulx dropped ten grid positions following an engine change. "Eleventh or sixth, that is quite a difference," said Coronel, smiling. "Of course, I was lucky, but can I have a little bit of luck sometimes, too? I have had more than enough bad luck!"

Fifth place in race 1, fourth place in race 2

In the first race, Coronel crossed the finish line in a fine fifth place. "I drove a good race. It was a close call in the opening stages only after Monteiro hit me twice and my car got completely sideways, but fortunately, I was able to keep the car in control. I was behind Gabriele Tarquini, who didn't make a mistake, so I couldn't pass him, but in turn, I was able to defend my fifth place against Farfus. I saw where he was faster and there I was able to keep him behind me without further ado," the driver said after the race.

In the second race, Coronel was classified fourth. "I had a fairly good start and after that I was able to defend my position. Huff was behind me, but he wasn't quicker and didn't start any attacks. After the safety car phase, I made a slight error coming onto the main straight where I had a little bit too much oversteer, but fortunately, my position wasn't in danger. In the closing stages, I was able to close the gap to Gabriele Tarquini, who was in front of me, and thus, I crossed the finish line in fourth place. It was a great weekend, I would have signed up for this result right away!"

Next races: Brno (CZ), August 1st


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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Tom Coronel , Robert Dahlgren , Gabriele Tarquini