Tom Coronel misses out on Independents title The title showdown for the FIA World Touring Car Championship was tailor made to be held at Macau. The former Portugese enclave is well known for its casinos and other forms of entertainment. The...
Tom Coronel misses out on Independents title
The title showdown for the FIA World Touring Car Championship was tailor made to be held at Macau. The former Portugese enclave is well known for its casinos and other forms of entertainment. The Macau Grand Prix is the icing on the cake. In order to ensure the world title to be decided at Macau double points could be won this weekend. SEAT Team Holland driver Tom Coronel knows the track quite well and knows that a lot can be won at Macau, but also that the guardrail can be your biggest opponent here.
After finishing the first free practice session in third place Coronel put his GR Asia prepared SEAT Toledo Cupra on 13th place in qualifying. With this he was the fastest privateer driver, which was vital for his attack on the Michelin Independents Trophy. However just like many other drivers the Dutchman was to be a victim of the tight track and the unforgiving guardrails.
Tom Coronels is realistic enough about racing at Macau. "It is just a great track. I am always quick here, however I never managed to get a podium finish here. You need an awful lot of luck to be on top. In free practice everything was great. I was third behind Andy Priaulx and Jorg Muller, beating all other works drivers and of course also my rivals for the Michelin Independents Trophy. The latter was the most important thing for this weekend. The SEAT Team Holland driver said.
In qualifying Tom had to settle for 13th place, but was still the fastest privateer driver. "There was a lot more in it", he said afterwards. "But it was hard to get a decent lap in. Several times the session was interrupted by a red flag and at the moment when I was on a hot lap Nicola Larini blocked me with his Chevrolet. During the debrief session we saw that by adding the sector times sixth place would have been possible. This would have made me also the fastest SEAT driver. Also this could have meant a lot to the Independents title. The further up front the better as overtaking is quite hard here. When you are on the track you constantly have to look around to see who is doing what. The track is narrow and the guardrails are always close and unforgiving.
With the confidence of being the fastest privateer Coronel started the warm up in which he set a 12th time. After that preparation started for the first race of the day. "My start was quite good. Before the first corner I had won already two or three positions. I was behind Jorg Muller and ahead of Antonio Garcia when we entered the first tight righthander. Muller was pushed into the tyre barrier by Rob Huff resulting in two cars blocking the corner. I got a small push from Garcia and after that my car was hit by some others that were heading full speed into the first corner. This was the shortest race at Macau I ever had. The race was stopped by a red flag, but as the car was completely damaged there was no chance that I could race again this weekend. So bye bye Macau, bye bye Independents Title, bye bye everything. Really a shame, because when you look at the results of my rivals for the Independents Trophy, Marc Hennerici and Guiseppe Ciro, a title would certainly be possible. But OK that's racing. Our focus will be on next season from now on. With the successes we already had this year with a brand new team and an unkown car there must certainly be more on the cards next season", Tom Coronel concluded.
Tom Coronel was supported this year by: SEAT-Pon Car, BBS, McGregor, Flexx Verzekeringen Online.nl and Splitfire Sparkplugs.