An early end to the WTCC season for SEAT Team Holland The final part of the season in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) will be starting at Oschersleben in Germany on September 6th. Tom Coronel will be on the grid again under the ...
An early end to the WTCC season for SEAT Team Holland
The final part of the season in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) will be starting at Oschersleben in Germany on September 6th. Tom Coronel will be on the grid again under the banner of SEAT Team Holland. It will be his penultimate outing in this year's WTCC, because Dutch SEAT importer Pon Car, which is funding Coronel's participation in the world championship, has decided to stay away from the two final WTCC meetings in Japan and Macau due to financial reasons. After Oschersleben, Coronel will also compete in the WTCC races at the circuit of Imola in Italy (September 20th).
SEAT importer Pon Car emphasises that the current economic situation is the only reason to withdraw Tom Coronel's entry for the WTCC events at Okayama in Japan (November 1st) and on the street circuit of Macau (November 22nd). Due to the decreasing passenger car sales, the motorsport budget has been cut with this decision as a result. At the same time, it is the intention to remain involved in motorsport, together with Tom Coronel. Various possibilities are being considered for the 2010 season, so that a well-balanced decision can be made.
With the races in Japan and Macau the decision of SEAT importer Pon Car will be extra tough for Tom Coronel. "It is a big disappointment, because Japan and Macau are very special places for me. Japan means a lot to me because of the time I spent there in Formula 3, Formula Nippon and Super GT and of course my first WTCC victory last year. Macau is simply a great race. I first raced there in 1995 and it has always been one of the highlights of the year when it was on my calendar. Unfortunately things are standing now it seems that both races will not be on my calendar this year. However I fully respect the motivations behind the decision of Pon Car. They have always given me tremendous support. The fact that I have been racing on the highest level in touring cars for the last five years is fully due to their efforts.
I will drive the SEAT Leon TFSi of SUNRED Engineering in the races at Oschersleben and Imola. The team has indicated that if I can find and alternative budget I can also drive the races in Japan and Macau for them. That would be great, especially as I am still in contention for the Yokohama Independents Trophy. However the decision has to be made before the race at Imola, because right after that the race cars will be shipped by boat to Japan. As you know I never give up, so I will try all I can do to complete this mission. It will not be easy given the current economic situation in the world, but the least thing I can do is trying. Everybody who wants to help me to complete my mission: feel free to contact me. We might make it happen and perhaps we will be able to race in Japan and Macau and still get a shot at the Independents title", Tom Coronel concludes.
For five years, SEAT Team Holland has been participating in the highest touring car category with an official status by motorsport's governing body, the FIA. The project started in 2005, the year in which the World Touring Car Championship was revived. Coronel drove a SEAT Toledo Cupra, entered by the GR Asia team led by Brit Paul Ridgway. A great third place for Coronel in the second race at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium was the best result of the season.
In 2006, Coronel was provided with a SEAT Leon to replace the Toledo from the third meeting of the season at Brands Hatch onwards. In his first race with the new car in orange and black livery, he immediately was the best-placed privateer driver and Coronel went on to win the independents' title at the end of the season. The best result of the year was a fine third place in the final round of the season on the Macau street circuit. In 2007, Coronel again raced the Leon, entered by GR Asia. A fourth place on the street circuit of Porto and a pair of fourth places at Anderstorp in Sweden were the best results of the year.
Last year, Tom Coronel's SEAT Leon was entered by the Spanish SUNRED team that has close links to the SEAT Sport factory outfit. After a strong second place at Oschersleben, the Dutch driver scored his first victory in the race at Okayama in Japan, an outstanding performance at world championship level. For the current season, Coronel was allowed to compete for the Yokohama Independents' Trophy again, in which he is currently second. At Valencia, he scored his best result of the season so far, finishing seventh overall.
SEAT Team Holland's motorsport activities in the World Touring Car Championship have significantly contributed to SEAT's sporting brand image. A reason for Dutch importer Pon Car to give a suitable follow-up to the successful first five years. The intention is to remain involved in motorsport in 2010, together with 'ambassador' Tom Coronel.
-credit: tom coronel