Macau: Tom Coronel ready for 2009

Tom Coronel and SEAT continue in 5th WTCC year For the fifth consecutive year Dutch driver Tom Coronel will contest the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). Like last year he will drive a petrol engined SEAT Leon TFSi, fielded by Dutch...

Tom Coronel and SEAT continue in 5th WTCC year

For the fifth consecutive year Dutch driver Tom Coronel will contest the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). Like last year he will drive a petrol engined SEAT Leon TFSi, fielded by Dutch SEAT importer Pon Car and technically prepared by the Spanish SUNRED team. Coronel is happy to continue his campaign in the WTCC. "It is great to compete in a World Championship. I am proud that we managed to finalize it all despite the difficult financial situation we are in these days. It did not go all that easy though. At first we wanted to make the deal right after the raceweekend in Japan. When I won that race I thought 'OK that's it we are there for 2009', but it was not the case. Then our next deadline was Macau, but also then no deal could be made. Then it would be December, January and nearly February, but fortunately now we have our package finalized for 2009. Even during the Dakar Rally I could hardly stop looking at my phone just to see if there were any new developments. But at least now I can say that I am a real SEAT man and I will continue to be a SEAT man in 2009! I would like to thank all people involved from SEAT importer PON group for their hard work behind the scenes to make it all happen. From an international point of view we are a relatively small party, but we still manage to be there and compete on the highest level of touring car racing. More importantly, we proved with our successes last year that we can be successful as well so we are not just making up the numbers", Tom Coronel said.

After the 2008 season, where we saw Tom Coronel win a race at Okayama in Japan, SEAT importer Pon Car, SUNRED and SEAT Sport worked hard to find the best possible package for the 2009 season. Of course the option of entering a SEAT Leon TDI for Tom was evaluated. This is of course the car with which Yvan Muller won the World Championship last year. Unfortunately from a financial point of view this proved to be a bridge too far. "That is why we decided to continue with the existing package", Marco de Bos, director of SEAT importer Pon Car said. "It is quite unique that a Dutch driver is competing on World Championship level for the fifth consequetive year and we are very happy to continue our relationship with Tom. Furthermore we can count on support from SEAT Sport and SEAT SA, the factory in Spain."

Chances for a petrol engined car

As things are standing now Tom Coronel will be the only drive to race a petrol engined SEAT Leon in the WTCC. The drivers of SEAT Sport the works SEAT Team will continue with the diesel powered SEAT Leon TDI. Despite their overwhelming success last year it is expected that the petrol engined cars will have better chances than last year. The FIA made some changes to the technical regulations, which resulted in restrictions for the Diesel cars. The maximum turbo pressure is decreased and the restrictor for the air intake is smaller. Also the new regulations for the success ballast are changed dramatically. "Last year extra weight was given to a driver who scored well, that will change now. An average of the two fastest cars of the same type is taken to judge the ballast weight of the car. This way the difference is made between every type of car and not between the drivers. So if Muller and Tarquini do well for SEAT Sport, all drivers with a Leon TDI of the same specification will get extra weight. This will increase the competition inside the team as all of the same type cars should be equal now. Of course we will have to wait and see how it goes in practice, but I think it can work out well for us", Tom Coronel concludes.

Tom Coronel: "I feel at home here"

Tom Coronel is looking forward to race in the World Championship again. "Not just that, but I am also happy to continue with the SUNRED Team. We started to work together last year and it was a very positive experience for me. I really feel at home here. Furthermore the results were good last year, so that gives some extra motivation". The good relationship between Tom and the SUNRED team was underlined by the fact that Tom immediately jumped on the plane to Barcelona when the announcement to continue the WTCC project." Time is running out now and we have to discuss some things about the new season. The first race is just over a month away, but well in advance the cars will need to be shipped to Brazil", Coronel explained.

Twelve events, 24 races in four continents

There will be twelve events with each two races this year in the WTCC. The championship will go to South America, Europe, Asia and for the first time this year Africa. On 3 May the series will visit the new street circuit of Marrakech in Morocco. The start of the season will be at 8 March in Curitiba, Brazil, while the final race will traditionally be held in the streets of Macau. For Tom the calendar has changed in a positive way. "Monza and Estoril have disappeared for 2009. Great tracks, but our handicap was always the lack of top speed on there. In general I like street tracks, and we have four of them with Macau, Marrakech, Pau and Porto. Furthermore we did well at Puebla, Okayama and Oscherleben, which are technical circuits where top speed is less of an issue. All in all I am very positive about the season to come".

WTCC on TV via Eurosport and RTL7

All races of the WTCC will be shown live on Eurosport. Dutch broadcaster RTL7 will bring their own reports with a lot of background information, made by their own team of reporters that will travel to all of the races. In total twelve shows are planned to cover the races, added by a season preview and of course a review at the end of the season.

-credit: tc

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Tom Coronel , Yvan Muller