TOM CORONEL STRONG IN FIA WTCC RACES AT PORTO STREET TRACK SEAT Team Holland driver Tom Coronel was up with the best in both FIA WTCC races today at Porto. The Dutchman was quick all through the weekend, starting from free practice when he...
TOM CORONEL STRONG IN FIA WTCC RACES AT PORTO STREET TRACK
SEAT Team Holland driver Tom Coronel was up with the best in both FIA WTCC races today at Porto. The Dutchman was quick all through the weekend, starting from free practice when he set the second and third fastest time in the respective sessions, followed by fourth in qualifying. With his qualifying performance he was not only the fastest SEAT driver, but also the first non-Chevy runner as the 'Americans' dominated qualifying and race 1 today.
In the warm-up it was Coronel who set the quickest time in his SEAT Leon prepared by GR-Asia, so the Dutchman was full of confidence when he started the first race.
When the safety car dived into the pits the field was released for a rolling start of the first race. The three Chevrolets immediately took control, but behind it was SEAT Sport driver Gabriele Tarquini who benefited from starting on a clean track when he passed Tom for fourth place. One lap later the safety car came out as there was a pile up of several cars blocking the track. Due to the lengthy safety car intervention the race was extended from 11 to 13 laps.
When the racing was resumed there were no major changes of position. In the final stages Tom Coronel gave away fifth place to fellow SEAT driver Yvan Muller in order to get a better grid position for Race2. With this result Tom Coronel still managed to finish in sixth place and.
The second race was also to run over 13 laps. The SEAT Team Holland driver had to fend off severe attacks of the cars behind him and still managed to score a fine fourth place in the end.
"Everybody was feeling that our luck was about to change this weekend. After a good second race at Brno we continued working on the setup. I just like the thrill of street circuits. There is no possibility to test before the race, so you have to do all your setup work during the weekend. One thing that you should not do here is making a mistake, as there is just no margin for errors here. The concrete wall is always there on the edge of the track.
"In the first free practice session we set the second fastest time, but despite that we decided to change the settings of the rollbar, shock absorbers and the gear ratios. It all worked out well as in qualifying I was the fastest SEAT driver. Qualifying was harder than it seemed from the outside. Officially you have 45 minutes to set your time, but all the time there is action on the track, and especially here there are a lot of yellow flags so you have to lift off all the time. I managed to get a super lap though which put me in fourth place on the grid. The Chevrolets were very quick here and I really wanted to keep my position.
"At the start I was on the dirty side of the track however, so I lost a place to Tarquini immediately. Towards the end of the race I let Muller go by. I really wanted to go for a podium in the second race and I knew that passing is very hard here. By finishing sixth I was on third place on the grid for Race2, and more important on the clean side of the track.
"My tactics were working well for much of the second race. The BMW of Priaulx and Muller were away immediately as they benefited from a better traction at the standing start. I followed them and at the same time I was able to stay ahead of Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini. They were busy holding of the Chevrolets who were fighting to come to the front. I was able to keep third place for much of the race, but I knew that at some stage the Chevrolets would be there to knock on my door. They were just much quicker this weekend. I was holding off Larini which was working quite well. However he still managed to find a gap at a place when I did not expect hime. It was a do or die action and it worked out for him. Not for long however as he put his car in the wall a few laps later. His teammate Alain Menu was more fortunate and passed me for third place.
"So all in all we did not get the podium that we were hoping for, but on the other hand we were quick all through the weekend, fighting for podium places and scoring points in two races. We are back where we wanted to be. Now we must continue our form to the next race at Anderstorp and fight for the podium again", Tom Coronel concluded