Coronel escapes 25G crash with fire van unscathed
World Touring Car Championship driver Tom Coronel claims he suffered a 25G impact with a fire crew van at Vila Real after his front-left wheel failed during practice.
Coronel was travelling through a fast downhill section towards the end of the lap but went straight on past the Turn 23 right-hander down an escape road.
Having missed a crash barrier, the Dutchman’s Chevrolet Cruze came to a halt when it smashed into the side of the truck.
Coronel and his ROAL Motorsport team later discovered the bolts on his front-left wheel had broken, with the wheel working itself loose on the downhill run and breaking free before the car hit with the truck.
A later investigation revealed the impact of the crash was “around 25G”, and snapped Coronel’s seat belts and restraint ties on his HANS device.
“Under braking, many things happened underneath the car, but it certainly didn’t brake,” said Coronel.
“I ran through the grass at high speed, hit an obstacle and finally came to a halt against an ambulance that was parked there.
“The impact was huge; it turned out that the reason was the five bolts of the left front wheel that were broken.
“I didn’t have any brakes and couldn’t do anything because of it.
“In hindsight, I’m happy the ambulance was parked there rather than blocks of concrete with the impact that would have caused.
“All the safety measures worked well and an investigation by the FIA revealed that the force of the impact was around 25G.
“The safety belts of the car were cut in two, just like the ties of the HANS system.
“The serial number of my helmet was noted. That can never be used again.”
Coronel won the opening reverse-grid race at the Portuguese street venue last year, but was ruled out of any further participation as a result of the crash.
His car was transferred by ROAL to Campos Racing, the other WTCC outfit campaigning a Chevrolet Cruze, to be repaired at its workshop before the series’ cars are transported by sea freight to Argentina.
“The engine was dislocated, the entire front wheel suspension was broken and there was massive damage to the bodywork and the chassis,” Coronel continued.
“The car really was like a banana.
“The ROAL Motorsport mechanics already started to remove the parts that were damaged.
“Before the races started, they left with the wreck to head to Barcelona, where the car will be rebuilt for the second half of the season.
“Campos still has two of these cars that we can use for spare parts and they have also made two mechanics available to support us to stay within the time frame.
“On Tuesday next week, the cars have to be delivered in Frankfurt for the crossing to Argentina, where the next round will be held.
“There is a lot of work to do to get everything sorted in time, but everybody has assured me that they are confident.”
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