PODIUM FOR SEAT-DRIVER TOM CORONEL IN FIA-WTCC RACE OSCHERSLEBEN A long awaited podium finish for Tom Coronel in the FIA WTCC has been realized. In his SEAT Team Holland Leon TFSi the Dutchman got the rewards after a strong weekend at the German...
PODIUM FOR SEAT-DRIVER TOM CORONEL IN FIA-WTCC RACE OSCHERSLEBEN
A long awaited podium finish for Tom Coronel in the FIA WTCC has been realized. In his SEAT Team Holland Leon TFSi the Dutchman got the rewards after a strong weekend at the German track of Oschersleben. In the first race he crossed the finish in seventh position after an emotional day of qualifying. Tom Coronel was in the top five in both free practice and in qualifying. Initially he was fourth in qualifying, however when he was called in for scrutineering during qualifying his car failed to start on its own power. As the regulations dictate the car to do so he was put back to the final spot on the grid. The team management of SEAT lodged a protest against this penalty and his resulted in a penalty of five places down on his original qualifying position. So Coronel was to start the first race from ninth place, which gave him far more chances to fight for a point scoring position.
The intense joy of Tom Coronel on the podium after the second race was the reward of all his efforts and hard work in the FIA WTCC. Obviously relieved and with an even bigger smile on his face than normally he said afterwards: The car was great. Our engine tuner made some changes which made the car just a little bit quicker. I knew that if I wanted to score this was one of the best places to do so. You can imagine when we were far of the pace in the first free practice session. Despite our expectations the engine was not performing well. It seemed that the throttle was handling like an on-off switch. The engineers quickly solved the problem before the second session. The results were obvious. We were on the pace straight away and I ended the session in third place. In qualifying I pushed a bit too hard in my first outing and I spun. Fortunately I was using old tyres and I was able to continue. Later on I passed the pits and I saw P3 on my pitboard. In the end it would become a fourth place. I think I was able to go even quicker, but in the final minutes of the session there were yellow flags, so I knew that if I would improve my time it would be disallowed anyway. What I did not expect was that my fourth qualifying place would be disallowed. During qualifying I was called in for a quick technical check on ride height and weight of the car by the stewards. Afterwards they push you away from the scales and you have to start your car to return to your own pit. This did not work for me so I was pushed away. Later on I learned that my fastest time was disallowed, which would put me back to the back of the grid. As I was in third place for most of the session I did not push for more quick laps in order to save my tyres for the race. Had I done more quick laps the problem would not have been so big. Later on we learned that the same thing had happened to another driver before and he was put back five places on the grid. In the end I got the same so I could start from ninth.
In the opening stages of the first race I was just behind the SEAT Sport works cars. I ought to respect them as they are fighting for the championship so that explained why I dropped back from ninth to eleventh. Later on some people ahead of me were fighting a bit too hard and dropped out. This made me move up to seventh which gave me an excellent place for the second race.
The second race always has a standing start, which is not in our favour. Therefore I was happy to receive a push from behind before the first corner so I could stay ahead. In the SEAT Eurocup race, where my brother Tim was racing this weekend I noticed several ways to get around the first corner in case of trouble. This worked out pretty well for me. However not for most people behind me as there was a big pile up before the corner. I had a good margin behind me so I started to push on Porteiro, who was in the lead. I was quicker than him, but there was no place I could pass him. Then I decided to consolidate and was happy to finish second and take the trophy home. It is my best result ever in this class, so this was a great weekend for all of us!"