Eventful weekend for Tom Coronel and SEAT Team Holland Hardly ever was a race weekend as eventful as the one at Magny Cours last weekend. The French track set the stage for the third and fourth round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship...
Eventful weekend for Tom Coronel and SEAT Team Holland
Hardly ever was a race weekend as eventful as the one at Magny Cours last weekend. The French track set the stage for the third and fourth round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship 2005. After a disappointing qualifying result the Dutchman made up for his 23th place on the grid in the warm up practice session. Things were looking good for Coronel and he set the 13th fastest time in his privateer SEAT Toledo Cupra. This was a clear indication that there was more to come from Tom in the race.
However things were to go wrong from there. At first Tom damaged the underside of his car on a high kerbstone. This resulted in a huge oil leak which transferred the oil from the engine of his SEAT Toledo Cupra to the French tarmac. Tom immediately parked his car in the run off area and jumped out of the car. The oil on the track made life difficult for the other drivers. Andrea Larini was caught out on the oil and spun in the back of the stranded SEAT. This made an end to the warm up and a begin to some hectic repair works of the SEAT Team Holland crew. Some hours later Tom Coronel could hardly believe his eyes when a brand new looking SEAT Toledo Cupra was waiting for him to go out for the warm up lap of the first race. Coronel finished the first race in 23rd position.
After some set up changes in the break before the second race Tom went for in second race. He moved up to 14th place overall and more importantly first in the privateers standings. After Magny Cours Coronel is now second in the Michelin Independents Trophy.
Tom Coronel and SEAT Team Holland did some useful testing before the race at Magny Cours. "We went to the Spanish track of Calafat. The most important change we made were related to the ride height. I wanted the car a bit higher on the rear so that I had some more pressure on the front. My intention was to reduce the understeer with this. In the end this resulted in a better balanced car and that was what we were aiming for. In free practice the result was there with a 12th and a 14th place.
However in qualifying we were way behind, 23rd! Soon we found the cause of our problems. There had been a small explosion in the airbox, which gave a loss in engine power. I did just one lap to prevent further damage. In the warm up the car was up to speed again and I could do the laptimes I wanted to do. The rest of the warm up story is known. I was standing trackside looking at the car when it was smashed from behind. I thought OK that's it pack the suitcase and go home, but none of it was true. People from SEAT Sport came running in and it was like watching a movie on fast forward speed. In no time I saw my race car again as if it was new. Ready to go for the first race. It was really amazing what they did. I never saw something like it before in my career. Of course I wanted to pay back the crew with a fine result in the first race, but it was difficult. I heard some undefined noise and I could not go on the throttle as early as I wanted. The crew was able to changed it for the second race which partly explains why I could overtake four cars before the first corner. After that I moved up spot by spot. When I overtook Carl Rosenblad I realized that I was leading the privateers battle. A perfect result and a worthy reward for the people of SEAT Sport who did a perfect job today", Coronel concluded.
However when Tom Coronel was already on his way home he was informed that the car failed the post race scrutineering check.
"It was quite a weekend and this is one of those things that are part of it. We were told that the front spoiler was too low to the ground. At the beginning of the weekend the car was checked and everything was fine, but after the car was smashed in the warm up session the engineers were focusing on rebuilding the car. The crew really did a superjob. My teammanager apologized and admitted that the ride height of the car was not checked. This was checked afterwards by the scrutineers and it was just under the margin. Rules are rules however and the consequences are that we were taken out of the results. It is a shame as we did not gain anything with it, but as I always say: That's Racing", Tom Coronel said.
The next race for Tom Coronel will be the FIA WTCC round 5 and 6 at Silverstone on 15 May. Also in this event Tom Coronel is backed by: SEAT-Pon Car, BBS, McGregor, and Splitfire Sparkplugs.