Tom Coronel says he’s working hard to be back on the WTCC grid in 2017 with ROAL Motorsport, after confirming that he and the team are eyeing up a potential switch to Citroen C-Elysee for next year.
The Dutchman has two wins this season with the undeveloped Chevrolet RML Cruze, with results that he said came as a surprise given the car having limited development for budgetary reasons.
Until 2015, most of the money for development came from drivers like Hugo Valente, Tom Chilton and Gregoire Demoustier, all of whom changed cars for the 2016 season.
“Theoretically to win with my car, it's impossible, but the impossible we made possible, and this is clever from ROAL Motorsport and myself,” said Coronel.
“As long as you buy a lottery ticket there is an opportunity to win the lottery... of course our possibilities are less than the others, but at least we did it.
"Everybody was surprised by this, and I think to make a surprise is more easy than a factory team who wins races, that’s why I got a lot of attention.”
Coronel says he hopes to be back on the grid next year with the Italian team, which he joined in 2011, but it’s all dependent on budget.
“I’ve been with ROAL Motorsport for six years now," he added.
"If you know how Robert [Ravaglia, team principal], me and Pietro [Sponerello] my engineer and how we communicate you will be surprised.
"We are even more tight than a family, it’s really a special feeling when I win with them and when I race with them. If the opportunity is there, ROAL Motorsport is always my first priority.
"If ROAL Motorsport says sorry we cannot be there, I’ll have to look for other other opportunities, but Roberto is my first choice, always.”
Guerrieri still chasing 2017 drive
Meanwhile, Argentinian Esteban Guerrieri also aspires to be on the grid full-time in 2017 after a strong debut at Termas de Rio Hondo earlier this year.
On his WTCC debut at his home race in a Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1, Guerrieri topped both free practice sessions, just missing out on pole position due to a team error.
Technical problems during the races meant he was unable to transform his Saturday pace into results on Sunday, but the former Indy Lights and Formula Renault 3.5 driver still has his sights set on a WTCC drive, to take up the mantle of departing countryman Jose Maria Lopez.
“It was quite a surprise for everyone what happened in Termas,” said Guerrieri. “I went there with my mind set to give my 100 percent, and it came out to be a battle for pole position and great potential all weekend.
"The reaction among the media was big, as the attention wasn't set exactly on myself prior to the race weekend, and afterwards everybody gave full credit of what Campos Racing and myself could perform on the track.”
On whether he expects to be on track in 2017, the Argentinian added: “The hopes are still there. My plan would be to get involved in a programme with an official factory team.
"So far it has not been much of a progress on that plan, but I never give up easily, I will keep searching for it.
"[But also to try] to do some races during 2017 could be a good way to still be involved in the WTCC world, and to see about capitalising an option for 2018 with a full programme.”
Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes