Tom Coronel fastest Chevrolet Cruze driver in both races.
Shanghai, 12th October, 2014 – For the second time in eight days, the FIA World Touring Car Championship field raced in China. This time, the over 4.6 kilometres long Shanghai International Circuit was the venue for the meeting. During this tenth FIA WTCC round, Tom Coronel qualified eleventh for both races. This was a slightly disappointing result for the ROAL Motorsport driver, because he only missed out on tenth place by two hundredths of a second.
This would have earned him pole position on the reversed grid for the second race. But just like in the previous FIA WTCC events, the time differences between the various drivers were minimal. In the first race, the Dutchman managed to make up three positions with his Chevrolet Cruze and he finished eighth. The second race eventually saw him classified in a nice sixth position.
No silverware for Coronel this time, but plenty of valuable world championship points to bring his total to 130. Thus, Tom Coronel is currently seventh in the drivers' standings. In the manufacturers' championship, Citroën already wrapped up the title this weekend with an overwhelming success.
After the race, Tom Coronel commented: "The big differences compared to last weekend are the circuit, because this is a proper race circuit, but also the extra weight we were given following the success for our team during the previous meeting. That certainly made it more difficult to compete with the Hondas. In hindsight, the weekend was quite good. In the practice sessions, we did quite well with results between eighth and tenth place. In qualifying, differences were smaller, but Citroën and Honda really were too fast for us. In the first session, I ended up ninth and I was eleventh in the second session.
That was really disappointing. I was in tenth place for a long time and I came into the pits for a tyre change, but then, I was the only driver to be waved into the FIA pit box for weighing and to have the ride height of my car checked. That takes approximately a minute and a half, so I arrived too late at the ROAL Motorsport pit box to have the tyres changed and still make it out in time for another quick lap.
Thus, I lost my tenth place, and pole position for the second race as a result, to Mehdi Bennani. Certainly, it is all part of the competition, but this time, it was really disappointing. From eleventh place on the grid, I had a fantastic start into the first race. I accelerated from zero to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds, which was my fastest start ever with the Chevrolet. Then, I was involved in a nice battle with Valente after I already had overtaken Bennani at the start. Eventually, I finished eighth, even ahead of Valente and as the best-placed Chevrolet driver."
"In the second race, I had another good start and I even was in front of Chinese driver Ma in one of the fast Citroëns. In the early stages of the race, I had some battles, but later on, it was a rather solitary race. I finished seventh, once again the best result with the Cruze. After the race, Loeb was given a time penalty for colliding with Muller. That allowed me to move up one more position and I ended up sixth. Good points for the championship, in which Citroën has won the manufacturers title. Congratulations to them! The fact that I was the fastest Chevrolet driver in both races clearly reflects that my car runs well, but that we are affected by the extra weight.
The next round will take place at the Suzuka circuit in a fortnight, where I assume we will be a little bit lighter and the Hondas a little bit heavier. Therefore, I expect some more competition. On top of that, the races will be in Japan, my second home country and the country where I raced for many years. That always gives me some extra energy. I have already won there in WTCC and I really hope that we will be able to repeat that once again. Who knows, maybe that little bit of energy that I just mentioned will help us to pull that off!"
Result race 1
1. José-María López 14 laps in 26:15.097; 2. Ma Qing Hua +2.089; 3. Yvan Muller +5.793; 4.Sébastian Loeb +6.175 (all Citroën C-Elysée WTCC); 5. Norbert Michelisz +16.050; 6. Gabriele Tarquini +16.483 (both Honda Civic WTCC) and 8. Tom Coronel +22.058 (ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze).
Result race 2
1. Mehdi Bennani 14 laps in 26:21.882; 2. Tiago Monteiro +2.590 (both Honda Civic WTCC); 3. José-María López +4.041(Citroën C-Elysée WTCC); 4. Norbert Michelisz +13.9976 (Honda Civic WTCC); 5. Ma Qing Hua +14.416 (Citroën C-Elysée) and 6. Tom Coronel +21.725 (ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze).
Standings after 20 races: 1. José-María López 384 points; 2. Yvan Muller 291; 3. Sébastien Loeb 251; 4. Tiago Monteiro 170; 5. Norbert Michelisz 142; 6. Gabriele Tarquini 134 and 7. Tom Coronel 130.